Generative AI Simulates the Dead:

Over at The Washington Post, Caren Chesler informs us about “AI’s new frontier: Connecting grieving loved ones with the deceased.” A 2020 Korean documentary team showed a mother who had lost her seven-year-old daughter. For three years after the sudden death, she was understandably obsessed with the loss. In “Meeting You,” she was shown talking to a digitized re-creation of the her deceased daughter. The mom burst into tears, saying “Mom missed you so much.” She said it was painful, but she would do it again, as it gave her a chance to say goodbye.

In 2023, generative AI has brought us far beyond that, as Eion Higgins tells us in AI avatars for dead people raise ethical and security concerns. DeepBrain AI, which has raised $44M, is offering Re;memory, which creates dead people as AI avatars using deep learning. (We hear that Amazon has something similar.)

Key Points:

  • Re;memory conducts seven-hour, in-person interviews with target subjects in order to gather training data.
  • They claim to offer more than just words and pictures: the ability to hold a conversation with a simulation of the deceased.
  • Many have reacted negatively to demonstrations of the technology, calling it ‘dystopian.’
  • No set of guidelines or ethics has been developed around the use of such technology.
  • Security of the application is also a concern yet to be fully addressed. For example, what if someone hacks in and causes the avatar to start espousing something hateful?