Talk to Friends and Relatives After They Die

OK, this sounds creepy. However, anyone who owns an Amazon Echo device (often referred to as “Alexa”) will understand how it works.

The Here After company in California has announced it is working on an Alexa-style “bot” that uses artificial intelligence (AI) software to let people “talk” with deceased friends and relatives. The device uses voice recordings made before a person dies to create the bot. Loved ones later can talk, joke, and reminisce with the bot, as if the friend or relative is still alive.

The company begins by conducting interviews with clients, in which they are encouraged to talk about their lives. Simply by speaking, Here After users can hear the recorded replies of loved ones—their real stories, songs, and sayings; their actual voices. (Check out the video above.)

The Here After company states, “Our goal is to capture the true spirit of people and to enable their stories to become immortal.”

Their responses are then edited, categorized and divided into sections such as “falling in love” or sentiments such as “happy” or “story about stressful moment”. This data is transferred to an app, which friends and family can access via a phone or smart speaker.

Several hundred people have already joined Here After’s waiting list. You can learn more at Here After’s web site at: https://www.hereafter.ai.

5 Comments

Definitely TOO CREEPY!

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In 20 years, no one will know what is or was real…saved first-person oral stories is and always has been a wonderful project, but to robotize them so they are edited (!) and “respond” to your prompts seems to me to be just wrong.

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How about having those conversations with people before they die so one can ask for additional details? Everyone get their heads out of their cell phones long enough to have an actual conversation with someone, not “communicate” in conversations of 140 characters? Edited snippets about a person’s life does not a conversation make. If that fellow was really an author, he had a really boring way of telling those “facts” about his life. There is certainly no impetus to read his books after hearing that (if the entire “posthumous chat” in the ad contained factual details, that is). If one can’t get one’s riveted attention off of the cell phone long enough to have an actual conversation, it’s too late after someone has died. Oh, and if one keeps journals and wants them read, the relatives are going to have to learn how to read cursive…, altho, if the cell phone user remains that self-centered, s/he probably doesn’t want to read about a relative’s life or thoughts anyway.

The bigger question is: Why does anyone actually pay good money to put these spy devices in one’s home?!? Haven’t they ever read “Nineteen Eighty-four?” (It’s online for free, in case one wants to read it; it’s a short story with a tragic ending.) Don’t they get the connection between telescreens and the modern ability for corporations to turn spy devices on or off at will (video and audio) even when owners have them turned off? Ditto one’s laptop and cell phones. I covered the camera and microphone and turned permissions off on my laptop the day I bought it and refuse to buy a cell phone or a modern flat screen TV because of it. I loathe the commercials littering the internet now (they pop up in spite of permissions being off), and there’s been a steep increase in the number of really awful ads on YouTube in the last few months. My viewership is going down correspondingly.

Chatting with a dead person’s edited words via a spy device’s pre-programmed chip is a bad idea.

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Gouhlish

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