AI and Grief – a new combination

Grieving the loss of a loved one is never easy, and everyone processes grief differently. But now, thanks to several Chinese AI media companies, you can pay for a “digital resurrection” and communicate with a deep-fake avatar of your lost loved one.

With a few photos and some audio clips of the person who’s died, AI companies can create deep fake versions of them for whenever the grieving person needs to talk with the one who’s passed on. While the avatar can move and speak, it’s primarily a one-way conversation with the avatar merely repeating common phrases, but users have said that seeing the person again has lessened their grief.

Like with most advances in technology, there are some ethical issues. How can someone who is dead consent to being digitally replicated? What happens if/when the avatar starts giving inaccurate info or says something upsetting? Who’s responsible?

And while some find this process therapeutic, others disagree that it’s a healthy way to grieve. Are users merely prolonging the acceptance that their loved one is gone from their lives?

Stories like this from China are yet another reminder that AI will take us to unexpected places…

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