Until technology allows us to upload our consciousness to a computer when our physical bodies start irreparably failing, death is going to remain a real thing. But what if you could continue communicating with loved ones — or, at least, a reasonable facsimile of them — long after they’ve shuffled off this mortal coil? It might sound like an episode of Black Mirror (it is!), but it’s also the basis for a recently announced research project being carried out at India’s Shree Devi Institute of Technology.
Researchers Shriya Devadiga and Bhakthi Shetty have been investigating how a chatbot could be made to duplicate a person’s personality digitally, granting users the ability to chat with an A.I. approximation of an individual, such as a family member, who is no longer around.
For their study, the researchers used Replika A.I., an app created by Russian coder Euginia Kuyda. Replika trains a chatbot designed to replicate an individual’s communication patterns by using their digital conversations as training data. Through pattern matching, the more you chat to your Replika A.I. chatbot, the more its sentences sound like something that you would say. Or, in the case of Devadiga and Shetty’s proposal, something that your deceased relative, loved one or friend might say.
This could be achieved by feeding it the sum total of an individual’s available social media presence, tweets, emails, and any other relevant information, to produce a virtual entity that is as close to indistinguishable from them as possible. Think of it like a Turing Test with a touch of Frankenstein thrown in for good measure.
“[Something such as this could help] people to overcome their trauma after losing their beloveds, is what this use case serves,” Shetty told Digital Trends. “In a fast growing world full of technologies — and especially a booming artificial intelligence — I think this would prove desirable. Because in such a world, nobody would like to spend most of their time depressed or mourning over their loss … Now this could be chilling, but that’s the truth.”
Source : Digital Trends