Digital session: New AI technology will mimic conversation with deceased family and friends

Digital session: New AI technology will mimic conversation with deceased family and friends

Artificial intelligence cannot bring back the dead, but it may be able to simulate conversation with a lost loved one in an effort to help humans through the grieving process.

The high-tech overhaul of traditional sitting comes amid the wild growth of large language models, a form of AI that is trained on large amounts of text. The release year of ChatGPT sparked discussions about the scope of the technology, as the chatbot mimics human conversation and responds to prompts from humans.

Jarren Rocks, product designer and head of Los Angeles-based software development company AE Studio, is working on a program called Seance AI, which will let people talk with a chatbot that mimics their deceased loved ones.

“It’s basically a short interaction that can provide a sense of closure. That’s really where the main focus here is,” Rocks told the Futurism outlet. “It’s not meant to be a very long-term thing. In its current state, it’s meant to provide conversation for closure and emotional processing.”

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A table apparently moves on its own during a seance in Paris around 1900. (Getty Images)

Humanity has long been fascinated by the attempt to communicate with the dead, reaching its climax in the late 19th century when people flocked to attend seances and at least 4 million Americans were identified as “spiritualists”. . Even cultural figures on the world stage, such as Mark Twain and Queen Victoria, have dabbled in the occult by attending seances, according to the New Yorker.

Such activities, however, were shunned by many other Americans and Christians, with the Catholic Church issuing an edict in 1898 condemning spiritualist practices and another edict in 1917 prohibiting seances.

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Houdini demystifying a session

Harry Houdini, a longtime opponent of fraud within the spiritualist movement, shows how, during a seance, mediums can ring bells using their toes. (Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

With the AI ​​sessions planned, only a chatbot will communicate with the living, but Rocks said he’s leaning into the “magic” aspect of the technology.

“We try to make it as magical and mystical as possible,” he said on behalf of Futurism of Seance AI.

Rocks told Fox News Digital that the name of the program is “intentionally striking because we believe we can bring real comfort to some people.” He added that he and AE Studio are “very concerned about the safety of AI” and want to “draw attention to the potential implications of the technology” – but he said they didn’t want to stop. advances in AI although they support “sound regulation”. “

The program uses technology from OpenAI, the AI ​​lab behind ChatGPT, and prompts users to tell the program the name of the person they want to talk to, their age, personality traits, and how they died. , depending on the point of sale. Users will also upload their deceased loved one’s text as a template for how the deceased person communicated while alive.

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Once the information is downloaded, the user is redirected to a web page that displays a flame and can then send a message to their simulated loved one. The chatbot responds based on the information given to it, simulating the deceased loved one, Futurism reported.

Rocks told Fox News Digital that he has been considering developing such technology since the advent of large language models, noting that he and his colleagues at AE Studio have all lost loved ones.

“Personally, I’m not as curious about the other side as I am about the grief we’re dealing with on this side,” he said. “As people, we have been obsessed with understanding what is beyond death for a very long time, and while there are many technological bereavement solutions for counseling or therapy, few address personal loss. with such audacity.”

AI sign

The program uses technology from OpenAI, the AI ​​lab behind ChatGPT, and prompts users to tell the program the name of the person they want to talk to, their age, personality traits, and how they died. . (Josep Lago/AFP via Getty Images)

The program, which has a similar tone to a “Black Mirror” episode that details a hyperrealistic synthetic recreation of a dead character, is not intended for regular use, according to Rocks.

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“For short conversations I think it seems decently human. I think it falls apart a bit [when you] start getting back to rehearsals,” Rocks said. “He’s following a pattern, he doesn’t really know exactly what’s going on.”

Rocks likened the program to a high-tech Ouija board that can be used for closure purposes.

“A traditional session is not something that lasts forever. Personally, I think the short time frame helps encourage closure, a tool to help you process some unresolved emotions. That said, there are potential applications long-term that might be viable, and we’ll probably launch other features later,” he told Fox News Digital, noting the possibility of creating a feature such as an “AI ghost of someone on a place of burial”.

“My main priority for Seance AI is that we provide people with tools to help them manage losses,” he added.

AI dementia model

Artificial intelligence has gained traction among people mourning the loss of a loved one, including recreating the voice of a deceased person. (Stock)

Artificial intelligence has gained traction among people mourning the loss of a loved one, including recreating the voice of a deceased person.

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South Korean technology company DeepBrain AI has designed a program called “Re;memory”, which allows users to upload videos, audio and photos of deceased people, which are then used to create a virtual version of the person who can communicate with humans. In China, tech developers are building what they call “grievancebots” so people can communicate with deceased loved ones, according to Insider.

Rocks said SeanceAI will launch on Tuesday, including testing a free tier of the program as well as a paid tier for longer-term users.

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