Chinese mourners use AI to digitally revive the dead: a growing trend in grief support

Chinese mourners use AI to digitally revive the dead: a growing trend in grief support

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Sima Huapeng, who founded Nanjing-based Silicon Intelligence, said the technology would “bring about a new type of humanism”.

He compared it to portraiture and photography, which helped people remember the dead in revolutionary ways.

Tal Morse, visiting research fellow at the Center for Death and Society at the University of Bath, Britain, said ghost bots can provide comfort.

But he cautioned that more research is needed to understand their psychological and ethical implications.

“A key question here is… how faithful are the ghost bots to the personality they were designed to mimic,” Morse told AFP.

“What if they do things that will ‘contaminate’ the memory of the person they are supposed to represent?”

Experts say another dilemma arises from the inability of deceased people to give consent.

While permission to copy speech or behavior was probably unnecessary, it might be needed “to do some other things with that simulacrum,” said Nate Sharadin, a philosopher at the University of Hong Kong who specializes in AI and its social impacts.

For Super Brain’s Zhang, all new technology is a “double-edged sword.”

“As long as we’re helping those who need it, I don’t see any problem.”

He doesn’t work with people for whom it could have a negative impact, he said, citing a woman who attempted suicide after the death of her daughter.

Bereaved father Wu said Xuanmo “would probably have been willing” to be digitally resurrected.

“One day, son, we will all meet again in the Metaverse,” he said as his wife broke down in tears in front of his grave.

“Technology is getting better every day…it’s just a matter of time.”

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