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Startup Out of MIT Promises Digital Afterlife — Just Hand Over Your Data 241

v3rgEz writes "A new startup out of MIT offers early adopters a chance at the afterlife, of sorts: It promises to build an AI representation of the dearly departed based on chat logs, email, Facebook, and other digital exhaust generated over the years. " generates a virtual YOU, an avatar that emulates your personality and can interact with, and offer information and advice to your family and friends after you pass away," the team promises. But can a chat bot plus big data really produce anything beyond a creepy, awkward facsimile?"
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Startup Out of MIT Promises Digital Afterlife — Just Hand Over Your Data

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  • by randomhacks ( 3420197 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @04:56PM (#46113949)
    You're right. Channel 4 (UK) Black Mirror - Episode 1: "Martha and Ash are a young couple who move to a remote cottage. The day after the move, Ash is killed, returning the hire van. At the funeral, Martha's friend Sarah tells her about a new service that lets people stay in touch with the deceased. By using all his past online communications and social media profiles, a new 'Ash' can be created. Martha is disgusted by the concept but then in a confused and lonely state she decides to talk to 'him'..." Definitively worth watching.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 30, 2014 @04:59PM (#46113999)

    From the Max Headroom episode Deities [].

  • by MDMurphy ( 208495 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:06PM (#46114097)

    This is the basis of S02E01 of "Black Mirror" []

    The episode did a pretty good representation of the idea, showing things that the the dearly departed's avatar would know and not know based on their chat and email history.

  • Caprica (Score:4, Informative)

    by TWiTfan ( 2887093 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:24PM (#46114303)

    Entire series.

  • Re:Of course it can! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 30, 2014 @07:36PM (#46115645)

    Of course it can! Why the resistance? Human-level AI will exist by the time young people reading this are dead. Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into The Future was, more or less, right.

    How ironic that you should mention Max Headroom. Perhaps you forgot though that the episode where a company was doing exactly this was just a scam? They just used the deceased's image and had it parroting some phrases, essentially a really bad chat-bot, whereas they were advertising that they had made a perfect copy of them and were keeping them "alive" for a price.

    btw: The Max Headroom AI was created by accident. The scientists at that time did not know how to make that level of AI on demand.

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll