Submitted by Dimitar_Drew t3_11b5q2v in Futurology

The concept of archiving human feelings and voices after death with code is a relatively new one, but it has gained attention as technology has advanced. Essentially, the idea is to use digital technology to create a record of a person's voice and personality, which can then be used to simulate interactions with that person even after they have passed away.

One way this is being done is through chatbots and conversational AI.

Another approach is to create a digital avatar of the person, which can be used to create virtual reality experiences that allow people to interact with a simulation of the deceased.

There are both ethical and practical concerns with this kind of technology. Some people may find the idea of interacting with a simulation of a deceased loved one comforting, while others may find it creepy or disrespectful.



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jfcarr t1_j9w3wty wrote

Have you seen the Amazon TV show Upload? It's an interesting, kind of satirical comedic, take on this subject where people about to die "upload" to a virtual reality. It explores a lot of the topics you mentioned, especially the creation of a digital avatar and interaction with living people.

I suppose the real question is will this digital representation of the person really be that person or just a clever, partial, AI copy?


Orlando1701 t1_j9wq9km wrote

It’ll most likely just be a clever AI copy.


bjbark t1_j9xb2f3 wrote

Here’s an interesting thought, even if you could upload all your memories and thoughts to some super powerful AI, I don’t think it’s possible to upload how those thoughts/memories made you feel. I think the inability to have a physical reaction to thoughts might prevent AI from ever being perfect. Now that I’ve typed this out, I realize this might be the plot of terminator.


sephy009 t1_j9xuc78 wrote

One could argue that skynet had an extremely human reaction, self preservation. It also figured out that as a result of the initial action the humans won't stop until they destroy it.


LorkhanLives t1_j9xbrjh wrote

Upload was good, but gave me serious heebie-jeebies at the same time. The most existential dread I've seen in a comedy since 'The Good Place.'


pauli129 t1_j9z0i9i wrote

Even if it was a copy why would I make a copy of myself and upload it to a potential hell, no rem sleep ever, a possibly stronger more powerful a.I. god type character (possibly a coder or Rich af person who has more access to things in this uploaded world that I do not) who could potentially virtually torture me if they please literately forever without any way out. Copy of me or not it’s still me and no way in hell would I do that to myself or a copy of myself who thinks they’re me essentially. I can only imagine it’d turn out to become some hellish black mirror episode turned to reality for an eternity.


ItilityMSP t1_j9yycil wrote

You need to read\listen to the bobiverse series about an engineer who get turned into a von Neumann probe and help colonize the galaxy, very funny stuff.


Ransnorkel t1_j9w3mbv wrote

I just want Morgan Freeman and Tim Curry's voices to live forever


satans_toast t1_j9w5e7q wrote

Who’d care? Seriously, unless you were a famed artist or celebrity, nobody would care beyond a handful of really close loved ones, who (most likely) wouldn’t live too many years beyond you.


novelexistence t1_j9wboc0 wrote

Loved ones shouldn't care either. It's not the same person. They are gone. People are silly though and would absolutely pay to do this because most people are scared of their own mortality and want to be remembered.


WolfeTheMind t1_j9xr7fs wrote

Seems obvious but there will certainly be people that can't really comprehend the fact that this copy that they literally can't distinguish in any way from their family member could be different. They'll probably falsely believe that since it acts the same it must be driven by the same motives and feelings

Others wont care

The first group will probably be mostly younger folks (kids)


Le_Corporal t1_ja5r5fy wrote

Needing a lesser version of yourself, robot or not to pretend to be you because you cant accept death sounds depressing


AioliFantastic4105 t1_j9xj5vq wrote

I’d love to interact with 200 yr old common folks


Chemical_Estate6488 t1_j9y7l10 wrote

Yeah it’d be valuable to have an archive of first hand perspectives for future historians, or just regular people interested in researching their family trees. If people aren’t talking to you it doesn’t matter, because it’s not you and it’s not conscious and bored or lonely. There’s no really downside other than cost really


rmartinezx t1_j9w36cf wrote

I feel like this depends mostly on the individual. Like how people have the option to choose the way they want their physical body treated after death. If someone chooses to have their mind archived, then that is their choice. Many people wpuld benefit from this throughout the grieving process, however, i do believe it would cause trouble as some people have a hard time coping and if it were a VR experience, you would have people that would not want to leave the experience as they would not be able to handle life wothout that person. It's an interesting thought though and really brings to mind that one episode of futurama where people had their minds uploaded to their experience of choice after death


Hekantonkheries t1_j9z0k1m wrote

INB4 the primary consumer of the digital copies is creepy stalkers renting out Lucy Liu bots.


skraddleboop t1_j9wbupc wrote

I don't get it. Why would I care if something is going around looking/acting like me when I'm gone? Why would I care to interact with a digital imposter of a loved one? Genuinely curious about the other perspective.


RaccoonProcedureCall t1_j9xmk3o wrote

I find it difficult to identify precisely what I dislike about the idea of a digital simulacrum of me in some way taking my place after my death, so I can’t offer much help with that if you don’t see any reasons why it could be objectionable. Nevertheless, I think most people agree that certain wishes of a deceased person ought to be respected even if the deceased person is no longer around to care (e.g., whether one wants to be buried, cremated, etc.), and I would hope that could extend to this issue.

As far as why one might want to interact with the simulation—I think that’s much easier to see, though specifics would depend on how far the technology goes. On the simpler end, a basic chatbot that simulates the deceased’s voice might at least be comforting to someone grieving. I know people who say they would like to use similar technology to have one last chance to talk to someone they loved, even if they knew it was fake. On the more sophisticated (and much more hypothetical) end, I suppose such a simulation could allow some bereaved to function almost as though their loved one never died. Hopefully it’s easy to see why someone might want to live their life as though their dead friends or family were still living.


stefanica t1_j9xxv19 wrote

I'd love to hear some of my grandparents' stories and my grandmother's recipes again. I'd really love for my kids to. They passed not long after my younger children were born.


skraddleboop t1_j9y55tb wrote

But that would be an argument for making sound recordings of people while they are alive, not so much for trying to create an AI version of them complete with deep fake voice capabilities.


Cunnilingusobsessed t1_j9wdk59 wrote

There was a black mirror episode about this. The avatar/ai husband and a grieving widow I think? I don’t remember the details but I think it ended up bad in any case.


ArturoBrin t1_j9ykoxx wrote

Oh, yeah, with exception that he can enlarge some of his body parts...


DickieGreenleaf84 t1_j9w2spr wrote

It's not going to me, so why bother doing it?

Even if you could upload my whole consciousness, I think that will remove the beauty of death.


BrokeBankerBob t1_j9w9lzh wrote

It could offer a way for humans to transcend the limitations of our physical bodies and achieve a form of immortality, however you should question whether a digital copy of a person's consciousness could truly be considered the same person


pedanticheron t1_j9w5sxv wrote

I have played Portal too often. Not letting Glados test me for eternity.


Lakefish_ t1_j9waojh wrote

But.. you would BE GLaDOS in this scenario.


pedanticheron t1_j9x07d5 wrote

I fear my copied brain would be running as a test subject, while some brain of Carolyn would be Glados operating routines testing me. I am not even top dog in this real world.


YaKaPeace t1_j9we1iz wrote

Don't feel comfortable with the thought of someone having my identity in their hands without me having a chance to claim against it. I feel like this is something that will be more often misused, than used for good things


like9000ninjas t1_j9wi2se wrote

Its the future of humanity. More time is the one thing money cannot buy the rich. Everything we do is building towards that future imo. Where we digitize ourselves and are uploaded unto a virtual world or a robotic surrogate body. This will let us reach other worlds also.


Ill-WeAreEnergy40 t1_j9wnavv wrote

I feel like we’ve already been archiving things: on Facebook, tik tok, instagram, etc..

The next step is uploading it through some sort of chip. The Elon Musk monkey is a step in that direction.

We will eventually evolve into the “cloud”. Our consciousness existing without a body.


Transitsystem t1_j9wrdqq wrote

Isn’t there a black mirror episode that involves something similar to this? I haven’t seen it in years, but the premise is something similar to this if I remember.


jezra t1_j9zhwvq wrote

just let it go; life ends. There is no need to continue to destroy the planet in order to generate the electricity needed to allow humans to exist forever in digital form.


Mash_man710 t1_j9wl71j wrote

Just a horrible idea. For what possible purpose? Skip ahead a few generations, hey wanna talk to my dead great great grandfather? Ugh.


colditzjb t1_j9x87bn wrote

I personally wouldn't want anyone conjuring my likeness to have it selling inane stuff. An accurate AI likeness of me would probably tell you to go do something more useful with your time or "go touch grass". But that's never what the AI would tell you. The AI really appreciates your time and wants you to hang out and upload your stuff too. "If you connect your finances, email, and social media accounts, it will help us remember the good times even better!" the AI reassures you in my voice. "We have so much to talk about together, but lemme run through these ads real quick while I gather my thoughts. Ya know, I wouldn't have to play these commercials if you subscribed to the platform like we talked about..."


LibertarianAtheist_ t1_j9xomow wrote

Why not use cryopreservation? You know, cryobiologists take it seriously now and has actually a chance of working.


Revenge_of_the_User t1_j9yalll wrote

Having held some internal debates regarding this (i have a wide variety of conceptual exposure through media, so like others ive thought about this already to some extent)

...i think its unobtainable in some ways, unhealthy in others, and opens new avenues towards risk.

To elaborate;

I think its not really worth what people want it for. Keepsakes and memorabilia exist already, along with reminders like voice messages, cards with recorded messages on them, tattoos of voice recordings, and the wealth of media that most people have of themselves means theres little benefit to having a digital copy specifically for interacting with. No matter how similar something is, a copy can never quite fill the hole made by the original.

Death happens. Its not fair, its not entirely predictable, and it scares a lot of people and makes even more uncomfortable. I could see a digital copy of a dead person exacerbating issues with moving on, letting go, and even mental illnesses in that vein.

Assuming these copies don't grow or "age/mature" brings in issues with the longevity and intended use of these things. If you lose a kid at 10 and obtain a digital clone of them, at what point do you just get over dealing with this perpetual digital 10 year old? Once they stop being copies and grow, they stop being the person you lost and become something else. Feelings of abandonment over turning off a program probably wont help much.

Then theres expected use duration. At what point does this vague resemblance stop being a comfort and instead becomes an ugly, painful reminder to whats lost? How does that affect the dynamic?

Then speaking as someone who will or would be cloned - what are my experiences going to be like? I dont think id want a digital clone to be made, because that wouldnt be me; it would be a facsimile of me pushing whatever the programmers want it to push. Maybe itll cook up something awful via unintended programming or glitches.....i dont want my "legacy" to be tied to that. It also concerns me that it would need basically my life experiences, just aaall the information i can recall...and even then, were made by millions of little decisions that we'll never remember. How do you reliably translate all that, and protect that info?

Its gonna be a shitshow. Full of what i suspect are just rando-bots that appear or sound similar to a loved one that cant ever truly be that loved one. Even if it sounds alike, or uses AI to mimic a 3d appearance or speaking/writing style, its just .....someone else. Ill stick to what weve got, thanks.


HomingJoker t1_j9ycbf8 wrote

I never see a point to things like this unless I myself am being moved to the machine/virtual reality/whatever, in affect achieving immortality. Especially copy and paste things like cloning yourself. It's not me it's just another version of me running around doing its own thing.

This sounds pretty interesting for people mourning maybe, though a little morbid.


Calecog t1_j9ycs93 wrote

It's cute, but that's not really who we are. For others it may be dope ways of re-creating accurate simulations, like imagine we were able to copy the brains of Einstein or Ceasar or any other smart/famous twat and ask them questions. I think this tech will resemble what those talking heads in futurama look like.


Jasrek t1_j9yd1qh wrote

There are so many potentially interesting applications outside of "make a digital ghost of your loved one when they die", which is (in my opinion) the most boring possible use of this technology.

You could digitize a copy of noted scientists or experts in their field and replicate them in schools as teaching aids. You could create a digital duplicate of yourself and talk to it. Trying to make a tough life decision? Generate five digital copies of yourself and have a discussion on what to do. Or boot up a copy of a noted philosopher or therapist. Be a game designer, hire people to upload aspects of their digital avatars, use them as the basis for your NPCs.


pete_68 t1_j9zcztc wrote

"Archive" your life through your actions and the impact you have on peoples' lives. This is just narcissism. You have to think you're pretty special to think that anyone other than your close family would be interested in something like this.

Reminds me of the time my dad (a little bit of a narcissist) said in a phone call, "I didn't realize how interesting I am." lol.


billdietrich1 t1_ja0c053 wrote

I want my web site to survive me for several decades, and even this is hard to arrange.


unleash_the_giraffe t1_ja2nkbh wrote

I think it's fantastic. This way I can still be there for my kids after I'm gone.


Matt34344 t1_j9we050 wrote

Imo, there's not a huge difference between that and saving a person's likeness through recordings, videos, and pictures. I can see why it would appeal to some, you could combine all of those into something like a cleverbot of one person, but it would be incapable of actually feeling or thinking anything and be somewhat superficial.


TwelfthMoldyHotDog t1_j9wjxwu wrote

Anyone else here played SOMA?

I think it could be pretty cool and useful if done correctly. Imagine being able to preserve the whole of a human's knowledge! Incredible.


zombiifissh t1_j9wouvg wrote

No, why would I want that. Death is natural and we as part of nature should accept it


fraidycat t1_j9wrhnb wrote

The 1998 X-Files episode "Kill Switch" was about that, except it wasn't just an archive of your mind. It was transferring your consciousness into cyberspace. X-Files was so good.


MyDogHatesMyUsername t1_j9wrmtf wrote

If this is an actual thing, I'm pretty sure my wife and son would be pretty happy since I pay a good chunk of our bills with voicework. Lol


Semifreak t1_j9wu4qw wrote

I don't care at all since I am not important to have anything bout me preserved.

But I can see models trained to mimic philosophers and poets and such. Even if it is just manufactured, it would be interesting to hear what could Descartes thinks of the current model of the universe, how Shakespeare would direct a contemporary movie (or even a sci fi one!), how Socrates would view modern issues, and so on.

Heck, even something more recent. I miss Hitchens rebuttals and speeches. Imagine what and how he would talk about current affairs today.


JonJackjon t1_j9wvfyt wrote

Except in extreme cases I don't see why it would be worth any effort.

I would think might put the psychics out of business and could be the ruin to those who act on the responses from the dead.


KYWizard t1_j9wwsbp wrote

I am going to assume you are talking about really good AI and not the actual person's consciousness:

I mean, I think it might have some implications of stunting the grieving process for some. It might be unhealthy for some. It might also be good for others. It's hard to say really.

I know there are people I wish I could see again and talk to and hear them laugh. Maybe on their birthday or on a holiday, sit down with some whiskey and pour your heart out. Cry and grieve.

I could also see some Miss Havisham types who would interact every day and lose some sense of reality and get kind of fucked up with it.

Actual consciousness? There would be a lot of issues around legality and personhood. Can a person exist like that and not go insane? That's a tough one.


IcyBoysenberry9570 t1_j9wx5cu wrote

Somewhere there are records of every text message that someone sends and receives. It seems like it would be fairly trivial in the near future to use that to model an AI version of a person that you could continue to text with even after they are dead. The experience would be the same even though you would know that the AI wasn't real.


Spiritual-Food-8474 t1_j9x0uyw wrote

I want to be dead in this timeline and universe that's it.

This would be complete torture and the foundation of hell.


thealmanack t1_j9x168l wrote

It'll be really fun to have your grieving family pester your afterlife over inheritance problems or have your descendants criticize your life.


thealmanack t1_j9x235l wrote

What if they used this sort of technology in conjunction with cloning. Your clone could basically ask the original self everything it needs to know to be you.


dja_ra t1_j9xb3uv wrote

Clones are twins. Twins are not the same people. Your clone would not be you.


rachaelonreddit t1_j9x3dab wrote

I like the idea. One of the things that scares me about dying is being forgotten.


ChesterNorris t1_j9x5w4t wrote

Nobody listens to me NOW. Not sure I want to burden future generations with my idiocy.


wushenlun t1_j9x7yo4 wrote

It's pointless to discuss the afterlife, some people are happy to experience it


TheSensibleTurk t1_j9xbjgp wrote

We have no idea what awaits beyond death. For all we know this is a glorified VR experience. Maybe the simulation makers are benevolent and our actual selves consented to this and once we're done we're back whatever we were doing out there. We're like Columbus sailing westward thinking he'll get to the Indies.


Feerlez_Leeder101 t1_j9xfy00 wrote

You make a deep learning AI that you train on yourself over the course of your life and upload it after your death so anyone can talk to you from any age of your life.


unselfishdata t1_j9xoyil wrote

Yes and I want my face at every McDonald's cash register asking people how I can help them...


Mercurionio t1_j9xspjo wrote

So, Johnny Silverhand all over again? That's what you purpose?


Exoskeleton00 t1_j9xsws2 wrote

It seems human nature to leave archives. Every life is a collection of remains. Some have volumes printed of their thoughts. Some have stacks of musical records. Some have crafts. Some have mines. Some have hoardes of art. Some have piles of cloth and garments. Some are left behind in the gardens they planted. We have, as humans, so many archival examples of our thoughts leading back to stone aged cave paintings and flint knives that my opinion is, we simply are a species with a tendency to creat elaborate archives for future humans to ponder. We are already mid recording of our voices. We are alre there.


noname_nolife766 t1_j9xtvr2 wrote

It would be awful. Just imagining that I'm speaking with digital copy of my wife is make me nauseous.


fainting-goat t1_j9xvk1r wrote

I am looking forward to the point where I am no longer here. I have hope for what I want to accomplish, I want my progeny to do everything they want to.


But we have an end. It's as natural as our beginning. I don't want a digital Jim Henson putting other words in my mouth. I don't want to be included in some deluded puppet show of "what would grandad have looked like if he was doing the 3x floss."


Let me die. Let new lives go. That is life.


imreadin t1_j9y3huw wrote

Hahaha!! Humans are so self important... give me a break... In the grand scheme of things, it does not really matter, what matters is we live for the moment, to the fullest in peace and harmony with environment and others.


meshyf t1_j9ydkux wrote

If I could be there in some small way for my kids after I die I'd like to make it happen.


DJ2x t1_j9yvitg wrote

If you can transfer the essence of someone's entire personality into a computer, who says that they don't just continue to live as data untethered from mortality?

I think it was the first time I watched Ghost in the Shell, but I've always dreamed of digital immortality. I very much hope to donate my brain to such research if possible.


bumleegames t1_j9z73uh wrote

There was a startup that tried to do this with a service called a number of years ago. The project failed, but they had a lot of interest, especially from people who were terminally ill and wanted to leave behind something for their loved ones.


zabadoh t1_ja04ht8 wrote

It wouldn’t be me.

Myself, as I exist, wouldn’t be aware of whatever this thing would be doing.

I probably wouldn’t be very accurate reflection of my personality, and even if it were, it would be the version of me in a moment frozen in time, like a vintage photograph or video, not capable of changing or understanding changes in the environment and society.

And that’s just me.
Just let my body and mind die and let my works have as much or as little influence as they deserve, and let the young uns chart the best path to best suit their own needs.


TheAce707 t1_ja0j1rl wrote

The maze is sharp on my mind. The angles cut me when I try to think...


UniversalMomentum t1_ja0nqn1 wrote

Feel like eventually we'll be able to make an archive or copy so precise that it will serve as a backup to your brain and eventually we will have computers that can render it though you know realistically backing up your brain with today's technology is probably not going to create a viable product 100 years or whatever from now when we have the technology


benadrylpill t1_j9xykr7 wrote

This may sound harsh, but I think it's pretty arrogant of anyone to think they're important enough to "live" forever.


DJ2x t1_j9yy3oq wrote

But why? I suppose it could come off as arrogant to continue consuming resources beyond the current average lifecycle if those resources are harmful or nonrenewable.

On the other hand, if your immortality cost was simply energy (that can be harnessed in multiple renewable ways) what harm could come from it? The potential for larger collective thought and minimized loss of information is very appealing to me. There is also the possibility that once you're data, you can be modified or 'upgraded' essentially merging humanity with the AI we're currently creating.

Now, I understand there is LOADS of moral, ethical, and technical questions that are far beyond my ability to solve myself. I just think there is a way it can result in advancement instead of replacement.