A new project has been unveiled that aims to create a “virtual you”, capable of interacting with a person’s family, friends and ancestors after their death.
The team from MIT claims that by collecting a person’s digital footprint over their lifetime and using “complex artificial intelligence algorithms”, it will be able to create an avatar that emulates the person’s personality.
Advertising itself as “like a Skype chat from the past”, Eterni.me offers those that sign up the chance to “simply become immortal”.
“The idea behind Eterni.me is to build an alter-ego from your lifetime digital footprint and offer an immersive interaction with it during and after your life,” a spokesperson for Eterni.me said. “(It is) your eternal interactive legacy for your descendants.
Over 1,500 people have so far signed up to join the waiting list, hoping to get early access to a beta version of the project.
Moral and ethical questions about the project have inevitably been raised, with some critics referencing an episode from the dark Channel 4 television series Black Mirror.
A spokesperson for Eterni.me told ITProPortal that it will deal with ethical aspects of the concept as the project evolves.
“We’re very aware we’re not creating a digital clone or anything creepy, but an interface for accessing memories,” the spokesperson said. “And we’re not even targeting the relatives of loved ones in the beginning, but people who want to preserve their digital memories for their family and for eternity.”
The Eterni.me team is currently pitching the concept to investors, though claims it is not a question of ‘if’ the project is possible, but when.
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