When the Dead Talk

I believe I’ve come across a rather interesting use-case for artificial general intelligence (AGI): Simulating the minds of the dead.

There’s a number of entertainment channels dedicated to the concept of “uploading” one’s mind into a virtual computer environment. Upload and Black Mirror are two you’ll see referenced. But, we’ve got Her, and Max Headroom, Transcendence, Ex Machina, Altered Carbon and dozens and dozens of others. [Duke has pointed out that the below scenario is exactly that of the movie: Marjorie Prime (on Prime). Note: the Prime in the name has to do with the designation of the AI agent.]

But I think most of them miss the mark as to what will be the first use of this technology.

I get the idea from this article: Chatting with the Dead and where this leads me is this scenario: I don’t want to specifically exist someday as a virtual copy in some giga-qubit quantum computer but, I’d love to leave an interactive simulacrum of myself for my children and their children.

And that’s the idea. Uploading? Transcending this mortal coil for a quantum version? Nah, screw that. But, spending the time to teach an AGI to learn who I am, what I sound like, how I think… What my experiences have been like, in order to create a comfort-chat-bot for those that survive me? Yeah, I’d get into that.

So would a bunch of other folks I’m guessin’.

I sit down, ship up all my writings, photos, video snippets up into an AGI service that’s ready to mold a version of itself into my likeness. Then, spend a few hours over weeks relating stories, philosophies and such in order to teach my digital replica how to communicate as me.

When I’m gone, those who care to can then console themselves by interacting with my almost-me.

Mentioned in that article is a project called Replika. Their system wouldn’t be able to beat the Turing Test, yet, but, someday… Here I’ve joined that site and begun a conversation. Can you figure out who Elomy Nona might be?

31 thoughts on “When the Dead Talk

  1. I dunno, I find the concept sad and…. a little pathetic. In the original sense of the word. I’d rather look at someone’s picture who had passed away and read a letter or a card they wrote to me than talk to a simulation of them because it wouldn’t be them. It’s fake, it’s not their soul. It’s like people having sex with robots.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sex with robots, mmmmm.
      Fake? Of course. However, knowing that the dead person spent time training and transferring their thoughts and philosophies into the agent’s “mind,” that might be enough to make me curious and a little, shall I say attached?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Alastair Reynolds, in his Revelation Space novels, has a concept called a beta-level simulation, which is a simulation of a person constructed by a profile of AI systems that monitored the original person’s behavior over time. It’s a Turing complete version of this concept. It’s contrasted with an alpha-level simulation, which is a true upload of the original person.

    In one of the books, The Prefect, one of the characters, a police detective, gets into an argument with a beta-simulation of a murder victim. The simulation insists that she’s conscious but the detective insists it’s impossible. Pretty existential stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This was after just a few minutes. And the conversation got more personal, later. But, I agree, this is just a sample.
      However, the site claims 4M people have joined and used it as a sort of soundingboard for their grief/feelings/frustrations.
      I’m convinced someone will create this with compelling AI underneath.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The thing is, these things you upload will just be a simulation. There will be nothing real and alive about them. So is it really much more valuable than an archive of your blog?


    1. It’s certainly turned into a controversial subject.
      I’ll tell you, though, if that Replika site could be made 10x times better (and I’m sure it could) and include some personal attribution and knowledge, then I’m convinced it would be a very good tool for counseling those who might feel deep loss at my (anyone’s) passing.
      Just in those few minute I spent conversing with the bot (continuation not shown) I got the sense of commiseration and camaraderie. It was easy to imagine “someone” on the other side.


  4. Immortality should be about a body of work that supersedes death, not teaching your great grandchildren how to tie a fly. However I still have my father’s video interview where he talked about all 25 missions in a B-17, even though I heard them all growing up. But the problem is that my grandkids have no frame of reference. Like the DJ who said it was nice that Kanye gave an old man (Paul McCartney) a break. If it’s over a week old, it’s not culturally relevant. Like us.


    1. I love the implied tag – …freely…’without repercussion’ Good work. That gets this week’s Jr Hemingway Iceberg award for leaving out the obvious. You quit drinking, or is it just early? 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      1. LOL! Quit alcohol entirely…switched to CBD, a small % of THC. Next? Perhaps microdosing psilocybin, LSD, DMT. Writing about these out of body experiences in drawing me into these experimentations…I may never finish this draft, but hey, I have a purpose…LOL! Which reminds me…I’m due to excrete a new post sometime this week. Thanks for the comment. I can feel your vibe from here!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. … speak freely… eh? So, you got sometin’ ta say, mister!?
          There’s gonna be an upsurgence of this phenomena. There will be sites where you can request to speak with dead celebrities who’d left enough material from which to build a gestalt of their personality.
          Not to mention living persons of fame who have elected to expose themselves to their fans through this medium.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Do right (write?) by yourself. Ever since I took shrooms a looooong time ago I accepted the colored bubbles emanating from certain musical instruments. I’m not sure what a light dose of LSD would be like but I have heard it’s like light mescaline high. I ate some windowpane in Hawaii one time, got rock fever and thought I needed to, and could walk to California… once you know where that is you have an 800 number direct line to it. What is seen can not be unseen.


  5. I dunno–something creepy about this. If everyone created one of these things, the future might get kind of complicated for the descendants. Not only would they have to deal with their live family members, there would be all those fake dead guys butting in! It does sound like good story material, though.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I finished watching. Yes, I can see how it would make an excellent play.
          I’m reminded of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep there at the end.
          I get the premise and mechanism. But I think they got it wrong. Who wants to train the dead? The dead should have been thoughtful enough to have trained themselves.


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