AI is being used to Connect with dead family Members
The Deepfake industry preying upon emotions
I must admit, I am a bit alarmed by the trend of startups to offer services to connect with deceased loved ones. Startups playing around with Generative A.I. and using tech platforms and virtual reality to create avatars, chatbots and more to help people still mourning. But is this a healthy trend?
It’s a bit Black Mirror. Black Mirror was this UK Show, basically an anthology series exploring a twisted, high-tech multiverse where humanity's greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide. Multiple scenarios on Black Mirror depict an abstrusely dystopian future, where several individuals grapple with the manipulative effects of cutting edge technology in their personal lives and behaviours.
In the 2020s thus far, I’ve noticed a lot of their sci-fi ideas are actually coming true. I’m going to cover the Mojo Smart Vision contact lens in another post.
Sure I get it! I’m in mourning too, my Mom passed away not too long ago. But do I trust a deepfake A.I. to recreate her voice, personality, image and behavior enough to find a virtual encounter therapeutic? Would I pay for that? It’s disturbing to me.
Not only are our children and the Alpha cohort (the children after GenZ) the first generation growing up with A.I, this sci-fi dream of uploading ourselves to the Cloud will even be approximated by A.I.
Now it’s becoming a commercial industry. That is, advances in artificial intelligence allow people to speak with dead loved ones via phone, video chat or voice assistant. No regulation, no A.I. alignment - just preying upon our emotions for profit.
In 2020, a Korean documentary team invited on its show a mother who had lost her 7-year-old daughter to an incurable disease. The girl’s death was so sudden — she died a week after being diagnosed in 2016 — the mother, Jang Ji-Sun, did not have a chance to say goodbye. For three years she was obsessed with the loss of her daughter.
But who is to say what helps a grieving parent cope with their loss? Or a grieving daughter or son to cope with the loss of their parents? Maybe there is A.I. for good in death as well and A.I. could be a positive force in mental health as well?
I want to believe that artificial intelligence will be used to help people. That A.I. safety, A.I. ethics and A.I. alignment will evolve even as the tech does as well. Though we must remain skeptical as consumers.
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