Groundbreaking new software which hopes to offer users the opportunity to communicate with a deceased loved one from beyond the grave is currently in development, but there is a catch.
For time out of mind people have sought to communicate with the dead and find real evidence of a tangible afterlife. Project Elysium hopes to offer people the chance to communicate with those who have crossed to the other side, but not with an actual ghost but a digitalised version of the deceased.
The software works through a virtual reality headset such as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, and the developers hope it will help the living overcome the loss of family and friends by offering a “Personalised VR Afterlife experience reuniting people with loved ones who have passed.”
The pair responsible for Project Elysium are also the duo behind Paranormal Games and have a personal interest in making this software work
“Our team, myself and my partner Steve grew up together as best friends, and our dad’s were also close friends. Both of our dad’s have passed away and we’ve shared our grief through this together. This is where Project Elysium has grown from.
“The software will acts as a therapeutic experience aimed to help the people left behind deal with and work through their grief. Virtual sanctuary [is] a service where we work with clients to create 3D models of their deceased loved ones. Giving them the opportunity to see them once more in a custom made virtual environment allowing them to spend time together.”
Naturally, developing an artificial intelligence capable of looking and acting like a deceased loved one is a questionable endeavour in itself, and leads to a myriad of questions. How can you recreate a fully representative personality of a dead person? Should you try? Would it be somehow disloyal to their memory to replace a human heart and a human soul with nothing more than data bytes and pixels?
Additionally, would the perpetual interaction with a dead family member or friend actually help or hinder that grieving process? Would such unnatural and artificial communication be more damaging rather than helpful to a person’s psyche?
The team behind Project Elysium believe not and insist they are merely creating other options for dealing with grief.
“Through the window that we create, people will now have another life raft to hold onto in the ocean of sorrow and loss. The window will never fill the void of that person but it can offer another option when dealing with the mourning of a loved one and aid in finding reconcile.”
Patti Smith once said, that when grief starts to become indulgent, it’s painful and doesn’t serve anybody, but if you, “Transform it into remembrance, then you’re magnifying the person you lost and also giving something of that person to other people, so they can experience something of that person.”
The question is, would Project Elysium provide an indulgence we could well do without?
(Images via Wikimedia Commons/Daily Express)