Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Augmented Eternity: Scientists Aim to Let ­S Speak From Beyond the Grave

View as: Print Mobile App Share:
Augmented eternity could mean our thoughts and opinions will go on  and it will not require putting one's head in a jar like Richard Nixon in Futurama

Researchers believe that by applying artificial intelligence to all the data we produce each day, we may be able to transfer our thoughts to a virtual entity that not only survives our physical demise, but continues to learn as new information is plugged

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Augmented eternity, the posthumous preservation of a person's knowledge, beliefs, and personality, could be feasible within 15 to 25 years, according to researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab and Ryerson University.

Ryerson's Hossein Rahnama says the same machine-learning systems used by Google and Netflix to make predictions based on patterns could be used to create algorithms that would come up with an approximation of how a deceased individual might respond to a question or statement.

"My ultimate goal is to bridge the gap between life and death by eternalizing our digital identity," Rahnama says. "Your physical being may die, but your digital being will continue to evolve with the purpose of helping people and maintaining your legacy as an evolving being."

The artificial intelligence (AI) system would require vast amounts of highly personal data curated from an individual's digital footprint, and Rahnama says privacy would be a major concern.

Other AI experts are skeptical of augmented reality and its possible uses. "The way I understand AI, machine learning, and big data is that it works well at distilling large amounts of data into the most common, repeating patterns," says Catalyst researcher Jeremy Pickens. "And I don't see the human experience as particularly reducible. Are we really just a sum of repeating patterns?"

From The Guardian
View Full Article


Abstracts Copyright © 2016 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


No entries found

Sign In for Full Access
» Forgot Password? » Create an ACM Web Account