An AI chatbot to talk to the dead

July 29, 2021

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Joshua Barbeau fed an AI chatbot with old texts from his fiancee who had died years before, so that he could talk to her again. Jason Fagone for the San Francisco Chronicle wrote about Barbeau’s experience:

As Joshua continued to experiment, he realized there was no rule preventing him from simulating real people. What would happen, he wondered, if he tried to create a chatbot version of his dead fiancee?

There was nothing strange, he thought, about wanting to reconnect with the dead: People do it all the time, in prayers and in dreams. In the last year and a half, more than 600,000 people in the U.S. and Canada have died of COVID-19, often suddenly, without closure for their loved ones, leaving a raw landscape of grief. How many survivors would gladly experiment with a technology that lets them pretend, for a moment, that their dead loved one is alive again — and able to text?

Worth the full read.