Artificial intelligence has been infiltrating almost every aspect of human life in the past couple of years, and now scientists want to use it to delve into the afterlife. Sputnik Magazine reports that a team of scientists in Sweden is working on robots that will be “fully conscious copies” of an individual’s deceased loved ones. According to Sputnik, the aim is to create technology that recreates the voices of the deceased and the ability to answer simple questions. Eventually, they intend to continue to develop the AI so that it’s able to understand and answer everyday conversational questions.
The researchers want their creation to be a way for people to reconnect with their dead family members and potentially relive old times together.
If you think that this sounds like a plot from a Black Mirror episode, you’re right. In Season 2’s Episode 1, “Be Right Back,” the protagonist, Martha, learns about a new technology that reconnects her to her dead lover. The clone is an almost perfect physical replica of her deceased boyfriend. But his personality, which was developed after extracting information from his social media profiles, is less than human and too perfect. Martha soon becomes disillusioned with the robot clone and grapples with the decision of whether she should destroy it.
According to IMDB, the episode was directed by Owen Harris and starred Domhnall Gleeson and Hayley Atwell.
Although it’s science fiction, the episode raises some prickly ethical questions about reanimating dead people using technology. The main one surrounds what it really means to be human and whether it’s possible to truly resurrect someone after they have died.
Experts have been putting forward more of these ethical conundrums connected to the development of artificial intelligence. As the Inquisitr previously reported, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has warned that advanced AIs could take over human society if they aren’t regulated by governments right now.
Executives at Microsoft have also said that humans will all have a “digital second self” within the next twenty years. This clone, they say will have a consciousness, that knows everything about you that can act as an assistant to their human. But what impact will these developments have on human to human interactions and the wider society? Only time will tell.
— World Economic Forum (@wef) February 24, 2018