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Somnium Space wants you to live forever in the metaverse

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Somnium Space // Illustration by Kate Walker

Somnium Space wants you to live forever in the metaverse

 

Future. VR-enabled metaverse Somnium Space is launching a feature that allows users to create an A.I.-avatar duplicate of themselves within the platform so that people can visit them long after they die. As A.I. only improves and continues to update the avatars, they could gain an agency unique to themselves… leaving the metaverse packed with ghosts of former users decades from now.

Soul upload

Black Mirror’s “San Junipero” episode is coming to life.

  • Somnium Space is set to launch “Live Forever,” a feature “that allows people to have their movements and conversations stored as data, then duplicated as an avatar that moves, talks, and sounds just like you.”
  • The ultimate purpose of the feature is to create a version of themselves that will digitally live forever, so that family and friends can visit them whenever they want in their NFT parcel of land.
  • The company plans to start recording data this year for interested users — starting at around $50 a year — with the first set of basic avatars available by next year.

Somnium Space CEO Artur Sychov came up with the idea when his own father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and he was concerned that his young children would never get to know him. 

With Live Forever, Sychov hopes that “You will meet the person. And you would maybe for the first 10 minutes while talking to that person; you would not know that it’s actually AI. That’s the goal.”

Data DNA

So how does Somnium plan on accomplishing this? It’s partnering with Teslasuit — a company that makes full-body haptic suits for VR — to record a person’s electrical signals, biometric data, etc., and then use A.I. in order to create an “immortal mirror image” of the person. That may sound like sci-fi, but a 2020 study in Nature backs up that level of mimicry.

Somnium’s ability to collect that much data is sure to raise more than just a few eyebrows, but Sychov says that Somnium does not collect any user data unless users explicitly allow and pay for it:  “We are a decentralized world,” Sychov said. “We don’t want to know your name. We don’t care about who you are.” Additionally, users can both stop and restart the VR data collection process whenever they want and even delete all of their data.

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