Is Uploading Consciousness to Computers Possible? | Techie offers Afterlife Solutions

Yana Khare 17 Apr, 2023 • 3 min read
Pratik Desai recently backtracked on his tweet after watching an episode of "Black Mirror"

AI investor and computer scientist Pratik Desai recently tweeted that the technology designed to emulate dead loved ones would be available by the end of the year. This led to a buzz about the ability of AI technology to upload human consciousness and promise an afterlife, eternity, or cloning options. However, after watching an episode of “Black Mirror” addressing ethical concerns around such technology, Desai changed his stance and backtracked on his tweet. The controversial tech raises questions about the grieving process, privacy, data storage, and consent of the deceased.

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The ‘Black Mirror’ Episode: “Be Right Back”

Pratik Desai changes his thoughts on storing human consciousness after watching Black Mirror' Episode: "Be Right Back"

The “Black Mirror” episode, titled “Be Right Back,” tells the story of Martha, a woman who turns to a text-bot service after losing her partner, Ash, in an accident. The service later evolves into a voice chat and eventually a physical android representation of her deceased partner. The episode raises important questions about the impact of this technology on grieving. It also introspects the potential problems it could cause, such as losing a loved one again due to system glitches or privacy issues.

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Public Concerns and Desai’s Change of Heart

Many users replied to Desai’s tweet, raising questions about the ethical implications of reviving the deceased using AI. Several “Black Mirror” fans urged Desai to watch the episode. After viewing it, Desai tweeted a different perspective. He acknowledged the personal nature of grief and apologized for any hurt his previous statement may have caused. Desai admitted that, while grieving, people might say things without thinking seriously due to the possibilities offered by technology.

Current Developments in AI-Based Afterlife Solutions

Current Developments in AI-Based Afterlife Solutions

Desai is an AI expert who founded multiple startups and developed a ChatGPT-like system. He initially predicted that human consciousness could be uploaded onto a computer. While he has since changed his stance, other companies still pursue AI-based afterlife solutions.

For example, metaverse company Somnium Space has offered an AI-based “live forever” mode. It allows individuals to communicate with their loved ones in the metaverse.

Also Read: Virtual World Created by AI Develops Human-Like Features

Meanwhile, US-based company Deepbrain has developed a program called “Re;memory.” This program lets users walk down a memorial hall dedicated to a late loved one and interact with them “through an actual conversation.”

Deepbrain has developed a program called "Re;memory"

The Ethical Dilemma: Balancing Grieving and Technology

Humans have built altars, monuments, and even holidays to remember lost loved ones. Today, people get tattoos, keep sentimental objects, or send messages to the digital void left by a vacant social media profile. These actions help people cope with loss and acknowledge that the deceased is no longer with them. Introducing AI technology that revives the dead could disrupt the grieving process. It can also blur the lines between reality and digital recreation.

Our Say

Uploading human consciousness to computers and creating AI-based afterlife solutions

The idea of uploading human consciousness to computers and creating AI-based afterlife solutions has sparked a debate. While some companies have already ventured into this realm, experts like Dr. Pratik Desai have expressed concerns regarding the ethical implications of such technology. Using AI to recreate deceased loved ones raises worries about grief, privacy, and consent. As technology advances, society must consider the ethical implications of such developments carefully. One should strike a balance between innovation and the emotional complexities of human existence. As we navigate the digital age of grieving, addressing the ethical and privacy-related questions this emerging technology raises is essential.

Yana Khare 17 Apr 2023

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