A Portuguese IT firm has created a new social network that promises users a form of digital immortality.
ETER9 (pronounced ee-ter-nine) has been created by AUTO.NET and uses artificial intelligence to make posts in the user’s absence.
As users make comments and interact with other members of the site, their AI representative, known as the Counterpart, learns more about their personality and is able to act just as they would. The user’s virtual memories are all stored in a section of the website called “the Cortex,” allowing the AI to have access to all the information it needs.
“The Counterpart is your Virtual Self that will stay in the system and interact with the world just like you would if you were present,” the site explains. “Your Counterpart will learn more with each action you take. The more you interact in the new social network, the more your Counterpart will learn!”
Users can also decide how active their Counterpart is and also whether or not they should continue posting indefinitely, even in the event of their death. However, some have raised concerns about the emotional impact of the Counterpart operating without end, particularly as AI technology continues to develop.
Aside from the promise of digital immortality, ETER9 will give users the opportunity to judge how convincing artificial intelligence software currently is. The social network will include a number of virtual users called Niners, which will interact with human users, the Counterpart and each other. Ultimately, the site could see a large amount of interaction that doesn’t involve real users at all.
There are other projects investigating the possibilities of AI and life after death, including MIT’s Eterni.me service. However, mainstream social networks are taking a more traditional approach. Facebook now allows the creation of a legacy account, which a nominated family member or friend can have limited control over in the event of the user’s passing.