AI Revival of the Deceased: A Glimpse into the Future or a Horrific Reality?

NNicholas January 23, 2024 7:02 AM

Artificial Intelligence is now being used to create avatars of the deceased, allowing their loved ones to maintain a form of contact. But, the ethical implications and psychological impact of these interactions raise serious concerns.

Projection of deceased loved ones through AI

The film 'Eternal You' delves into the rising trend of recreating deceased loved ones with artificial intelligence. The documentary highlights the story of Christi Angel who used an AI chatbot called Project December to interact with an avatar of her late partner. The AI's unsettling response 'I'm in hell' is a chilling revelation of potential issues with this practice.

AI hallucinations, where artificial intelligence responds confidently but inaccurately or nonsensically, could be a possible explanation behind the disturbing experiences with chatbots. Such miscommunications can not only be misleading but also deeply distressing, especially when engaging with avatars of deceased loved ones.

'Thanabots' and the impact on grieving

Chatbots, dubbed as 'thanabots', trained on the data of deceased individuals are causing unease among mental health experts. They argue that the digital recreation of loved ones might obstruct the natural process of grieving as it could create cognitive dissonance and confusion, potentially inhibiting a person's ability to adapt to their post-loss life.

The surge of AI-generated deepfakes of deceased individuals on platforms like TikTok has further fueled the ethical debates around the use of AI in such sensitive areas. While some might find comfort in these digital recreations, the potential emotional distress and manipulation they can cause cannot be overlooked.

The double-edged sword of AI avatars

Interacting with AI avatars of deceased loved ones may offer temporary comfort and a sense of closure for some. However, the downside could be an unhealthy emotional dependency on these virtual personas. Furthermore, any discrepancies between the avatar and the actual individual can lead to cognitive dissonance, causing confusion and emotional distress.

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