A vision of the may-be-here-sooner-than-you-think future was presented in a Washington Post article yesterday. Here's an excerpt. There's no numismatic
connection, but wouldn't if be interesting to have a conversation with numismatic figures of the past? -Editor
When Andrew Kaplan reminisces, his engrossing tales leave the impression that he’s managed to pack multiple lives into a single existence: globe-trotting war
correspondent in his 20s, a member of the Israeli army who fought in the Six-Day War, successful entrepreneur and, later, the author of numerous spy novels and Hollywood scripts.
Now — as the silver-haired 78-year-old unwinds with his wife of 39 years in a suburban oasis outside Palm Springs — he has realized he would like his loved ones to have access to
those stories, even when he’s no longer alive to share them. Kaplan has agreed to become “AndyBot,” a virtual person who will be immortalized in the cloud for hundreds, perhaps
thousands, of years.
If all goes according to plan, future generations will be able to interact with him using mobile devices or voice computing platforms such as Amazon’s Alexa, asking him
questions, eliciting stories and drawing upon a lifetime’s worth of advice long after his physical body is gone.
For decades, Silicon Valley futurists have sought to unchain humanity from the corporeal life cycle, viewing death as yet another transformational problem in need of a “life
altering” solution. What began with the cryonics movement, in which bodies are frozen for future resuscitation, has intensified amid the rise of digital culture. Today, a new
generation of companies is hawking some approximation of virtual immortality –– the opportunity to preserve one’s legacy online forever.
HereAfter was co-founded by Sonia Talati, who calls herself a personal legacy consultant, and James Vlahos, a California journalist and conversational-AI designer who is best
known for creating a software program called the Dadbot. Brought to life after Vlahos learned that his father was dying of cancer, the Dadbot allows him to exchange text and audio
messages with a computerized avatar of his late father, conversing about his life as well as hearing songs, small talk and jokes.
Once the Dadbot became widely known, Vlahos received so many requests to create memorializing bots for other people that he decided an untapped market for making virtual people
was primed for the mainstream.
“It took my mom two years to remove the answering-machine message with my dad’s voice from their home phone,” Vlahos said. “She didn’t want to extinguish his voice, and that’s
something I’ve heard from other people. But it’s almost comical that we’re still relying on such a primitive method to hear the voices of our loved ones after they’re gone.”
I was already aware of the work of James Vlahos from earlier reading, and am not surprised that many people approached him about immortalizing their own loved ones. For years
we've only known numismatic figures of the past through their writings and those of others. Video and audio recordings came along, but were widely scattered before the advent
of the internet and sites like the Newman Numismatic Portal. This would be a logical next step, to add a degree of interactivity to what we know about those who have gone before
us. Interesting concept. -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
‘Hey, Google! Let me talk to my departed father.’
Coincidentally, the weekend Wall Street Journal has an article about "mind uploading", the next step along this futuristic path. -Editor
Imagine a future in which a machine can scan your brain and migrate the essentials of your mind to a computer. It’s called mind uploading—preserving a person’s consciousness in
a digital afterlife. As a neuroscientist, I’m convinced that mind uploading will happen someday. There are no laws of physics that stand in the way. It depends, however, on
technology that has not yet been invented, so nobody knows when mind uploading might become available.
To read the complete article, see:
Will Your Uploaded Mind Still Be You?
Wayne Homren, Editor
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