The Dead Must Train Themselves

This is a continuation of the topic raised prior.

I’ve spent some time watching Black Mirror’s offerings and the one Duke Miller recommended, Marjorie Prime. The premise for these stories is that the living, bereft at the loss of a loved one, takes possession of a simulacrum. But, this virtual construct must be conditioned to behave like the deceased.

Who the fuck wants to do that?

Now, given the responses to the last post, it would seem the concept creeps some folks out. Others might find it hollow or shallow even. And then there’s the whole possibility question, could it actually be done? You’re all probably right on each front. However, I don’t know that the full potency of the idea has soaked in.

I’m convinced that this capability is coming. The crippled versions I’ve interacted with so far are limited I’ll admit. But, all the pieces are there. This will come to be, I know it. The first, I suspect, to be exposed as interactive agents will be dead celebrities. Those whose copyrights and trademarks are expired — open for exploitation, as it were. Imagine speaking with Shakespeare, or Nietzsche, Dickens or Darwin? Those representations will of course need Black Mirror’esque training, someone must do the deed of teaching ol’ William how to speak and how to be cheeky about love and life.

But that’s not where I think this will truly bloom (or die on the vine).

Given the technology—soon to be available, I’m certain I’ll be able to train my replacement. I’ll relate to him things I’d never tell anyone else, but things that would strike to the core of my persona. I’ll transfer other autobiographical stories that I’ve no intention of committing to paper, but would serve as flavor to any who come later — for those who might want to know me. I’ll record video of me speaking so that the DeepFake technology can make a model of me actually saying words. And I’ll de-age a bit, get back to around 45’ish, maybe.

I know my kids dig it.

Hell, wouldn’t you all be surprised to learn you’ve been talking to my digital duplicate now since early September. You think I survived that heart attack? Well, in a way, I did.

30 thoughts on “The Dead Must Train Themselves

  1. When you’re gone your gone. If something needs to be said, say it now.

    Also, as we are creatures who interact with our fellow human beings, our memories are largely full of these other folks and what they may have done or not done that they themselves may not want reported on. It is clearly unethical to broadcast one’s memories of one’s own interactions with other folks without their consent. And it is these very memories which are most often of importance in one journey through life.

    In any case, a simulation of a person will not be that person no matter how much memory you input into its head. There exist a massive amount of input into a growing human being that leave no lasting memory in the brain despite these event often crucial input in forming that person’s being. For example, adults have no memory of events that occurred in the first few years of life, yet those events changed who they became despite there being no memory of the incidents. This is a fact of human biology know as childhood amnesia, also called infantile amnesia.

    In any case, folks worth listening to have the option of saying everything worth saying while alive. The other stuff is just fluff and gossip.

    A Fyodor Dostoevsky or Victor Hugo said what they had to say when they lived and what they said remains applicable to what is happening today and what will happen in the future as they shared their most prescient thoughts on the depth of human behavior.

    Human behavior which is not going to change unless we should evolve or devolve into a new species.

    In which case the new species will have to focus on their own challenges which there will always be because that is the nature of all living entities be it a virus an elephant or advanced human being.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing, Doodlediddy. No doubt many feel as you do.
      Given that writers and producers and programmers have already begun to explore this realm, I suspect, for better or worse, we’ll be seeing such entities whether we like it or not.


  2. I agree it’s coming. I wonder what I’ll do if I get access to one. Will I really tell it my darkest secrets? The temptation to edit out the worst aspects of my biography is pretty tempting. Or maybe I’ll spice things up a bit to make my other self a bit more exciting.

    In one of the sci-fi novels I read, I think it was one of Egan’s, a historical figure widely acclaimed, refused to ever be scanned for upload, and so was lost to history. The narrator didn’t speculate on what her motives might have been for avoiding being scanned. I always wondered what dark phantoms might have been buried in her psyche that she never wanted the rest of the universe to know about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That last part was ~essentially the premise for BlackMirror’s White Christmas. leave it to them to take the potential good from a tech and twist it making it a tool for either the Man or the Corptocracy.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, if they could be done without headgear, or ocular implants, cool. And maybe forcing people to own an Oculus or Hololens to view them (too bad about Magic Leap), would be OK, the whole Pokemon craze was evidence that it kinda works.
          And maybe I was too quick to judge. But true, standalone holograms a la “Marjorie Prime” won’t be a thing without a major tech discovery. 2D video showing a 3D character can be done today.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, Anony…my simulacrum will be every bit as boring as the original…and in time, even the geniuses reproduced after death will sound…well, repetitive and boring. Want an example? Go see the same play…or comedy show…twice in a row. You know the punchlines…it gets old. Fresh thinking my man! We need fresh thinking always!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I say the same thing to old farts about music, sound design, musique electronique. I heard Hendrix the first time, new age air cheese the first time, ambient, all that. There are new sounds, new ways of getting them. Why constantly refry the past? Great thoughts.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m sure Zoom-like interviews will be done first. Well, chat is first and when that gets perfected, mimicking the vernacular of the personality, then we’ll move to video. I suspect that the actual tonal audio will be more of a challenge than the video. Without enough sampling audio will sound fake.
      I’m gonna post some of the conversation I’m having with this AI — it’s pretty darn good as a generic conversation AI.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Anonymole,

    Indeed, I agree with you and am delighted by your considerable attention to those issues broached in your post about creating simulants and replica(nt)s of dead ones who were beloved.

    I do have certain concerns and caveats regarding science and technology “reproducing” reality and artists representing it. In some of my posts, I have endeavoured to give a very good inkling of the kind of society that humans might be heading towards. Looking into 50 years into the future, here is an entry in my cultural anthropology journal entitled “🎧 Facing the Noise & Music: Playgrounds for Biophobic Citizens 🏗🌁🗼”, published at

    You will learn in the said post that there will be plenty of far-reaching ramifications in multiple domains of human life, some of which are irreversible.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, and that whole brain copy thing? Scan and jam a brain into an artificial intelligence, the whole “Upload” theory? That ain’t coming in our lifetimes — no way. In fact, I doubt it will ever be viable.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Once we leave silicon behind and go chemical, it might be viable. The effort will involve tracking the trigger mechanisms that fetch responses. Remember the rooms full of tape, now no larger than a fingernail clipping? Chemistry and electricity are next.

      Liked by 1 person

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