How AI is bringing back the dead

The dangers of digital immortality

Within the next century, there will be more dead people with Facebook accounts than living people. Before now, we’ve always treated the dead with dignity. But, with the rise of AI and chat-bots, our understanding of humanity, and its death, is changing. This rise in new technology is threatening our loved ones with digital immortality. Carl Öhman urges us to regulate this, before it is too late.


In the Black Mirror episode “Be Right Back,” the protagonist, Martha, loses her partner Ash in a car accident. Martha is devastated. But then she receives an invitation to try a beta version of a new app. Using a deceased person’s digital footprint as its basis—search data, conversation logs, tweets, snaps, playlists, and so on—the app produces a chatbot that perfectly replicates the personality of your lost loved one. Martha is at first skeptical, even insulted b

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rametr 3 July 2024

the commercialization of mourning is morally reprehensible and needs regulation obviously

Grant Castillou 3 July 2024

It's becoming clear that with all the brain and consciousness theories out there, the proof will be in the pudding. By this I mean, can any particular theory be used to create a human adult level conscious machine. My bet is on the late Gerald Edelman's Extended Theory of Neuronal Group Selection. The lead group in robotics based on this theory is the Neurorobotics Lab at UC at Irvine. Dr. Edelman distinguished between primary consciousness, which came first in evolution, and that humans share with other conscious animals, and higher order consciousness, which came to only humans with the acquisition of language. A machine with only primary consciousness will probably have to come first.

What I find special about the TNGS is the Darwin series of automata created at the Neurosciences Institute by Dr. Edelman and his colleagues in the 1990's and 2000's. These machines perform in the real world, not in a restricted simulated world, and display convincing physical behavior indicative of higher psychological functions necessary for consciousness, such as perceptual categorization, memory, and learning. They are based on realistic models of the parts of the biological brain that the theory claims subserve these functions. The extended TNGS allows for the emergence of consciousness based only on further evolutionary development of the brain areas responsible for these functions, in a parsimonious way. No other research I've encountered is anywhere near as convincing.

I post because on almost every video and article about the brain and consciousness that I encounter, the attitude seems to be that we still know next to nothing about how the brain and consciousness work; that there's lots of data but no unifying theory. I believe the extended TNGS is that theory. My motivation is to keep that theory in front of the public. And obviously, I consider it the route to a truly conscious machine, primary and higher-order.

My advice to people who want to create a conscious machine is to seriously ground themselves in the extended TNGS and the Darwin automata first, and proceed from there, by applying to Jeff Krichmar's lab at UC Irvine, possibly. The link to Dr. Edelman's roadmap to a conscious machine is at Jeff Krichmars UCI site.