In case you’re a fan of Black Mirror, chances are you have imprinted on one of those mind-numbing future tech possibilities. If human consciousness is going to be a thing, digital resurrection will probably follow close behind or may take lead. Virtual reality, artificial intelligence and chatbots hold next wave of technological advancement in their code. Combined together, they are going to trigger a new era of immersion where digital upload of human consciousness and digital resurrection might become as simple as using a USB to transfer files.
If it sounds too far in future, then it’s time to reconsider because first iteration of digital resurrection is already here. A vast majority of our interaction has already turned digital and it’s not hard to create a persona of someone you want to hold on to. Eugenia Kuyda, co-founder of Luka (robot messaging service), has recreated a digital copy of her deceased friend as an AI driven chatbot. Her memorial to a dear friend has opened up doors to a new reality – digital immortality.
Although Kuyda’s program is confined to boundaries of device screens, pairing it with virtual reality can definitely create a more realistic and believable “replica”. There’s still a long way to creating a robot that can replace a person who’s lost his physical mortality. Replicating bodies is definitely less feasible and not accessible at the moment, however, wheels have been put in motion with an incubation center dedicated to bio-fabrication.
The more logical step at this point might be to create a virtual reality personality by feeding all pertinent information about that person, such as speech, appearance and texting style. Not only will it be more feasible than bio-fabrication, it also offers a wider scope to explore possible solutions. Using technology like that of Kuyda’s Replika, it’s easier to imagine that a more personable AI might be just around the corner. Once we figure out how to clone or recreate a person’s consciousness, digital immortality wouldn’t be far off.
Combining virtual reality, artificial intelligence and chatbots can create endless possibilities and just might be key to digital transcendence. Let’s see how far along this dynamic trio will take us to a sci-fi future.