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AI connects the living and the dead

// Illustration by Kate Walker

AI connects the living and the dead


The Future. Artificial intelligence platforms are piecing together video clips and recorded conversations to craft a virtual recreation of people who have passed away. We’re still far from being able to code a “copy” of a loved one’s consciousness, but the AI platforms may be a key factor in resurrecting their likeness in the metaverse.

AI the afterlife
Axios reports that innovations in AI are making it possible to strike up a conversation with your dead relatives whenever you’d like.

  • StoryFile uses filmed interviews to help AI craft video responses to loved ones’ questions, creating the sense of having a conversation with the deceased.
  • Amazon rolled out a feature on Alexa where books can be read out loud by someone who has passed by “extrapolating” a piece of their recorded voice.
  • HereAfter AI lets users record stories about themselves that can then be paired with photos. When family and friends ask an AI a question about the person’s life, the program automatically sources the correct recording.
  • Microsoft is reportedly working on a chatbot that can “mimic” people based on their texts and posts on socials.

Avatar heaven
The StoryFile tech was recently used at renowned late actor Ed Asner’s memorial service, giving mourners the chance to have a final conversation with him. Asner’s son, Matt, said that some people were “a little creeped out by it, [but that] the great majority of people were just blown away by it” and that it was “like having him in the room.”

Speaking to Axios, Stephen Smith, the co-founder of StoryFile, says the ultimate hope is to create a platform where people will “be able to speak to anyone, anytime, anywhere that you wouldn’t normally have access to.”

It’s an idea that at least one Canadian man has already accomplished — he created a chatbot that allows him to converse with his deceased girlfriend whenever he wants. It’s the Black Mirror episode of “San Junipero” brought to life.

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