‘Talking’ to the Deceased Through AI Raises Concerns

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The capabilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) are reaching into a myriad of sectors, forcing many people to feel uneasy. A recent report from AFP revealed that AI is even becoming part of people’s personal lives by comforting them during bereavement. AI uses saved audio or video of loved ones to create a platform where they can still communicate with others after they are deceased. The technology is raising concerns, however, as many are questioning whether or not it is ethical. 

According to AFP, a sample scenario of using the AI is: “Ryu Sun-yun sits in front of a microphone and a giant screen, where her husband, who died a few months earlier, appears. ‘Sweetheart, it’s me,’ the man on the screen tells her in a video demo. In tears, she answers him and a semblance of conversation begins.”


The AI was started up when Lee Byeong-hwal asked DeepBrain AI to create a “digital replica” of himself after he found out at age 76 that he had terminal cancer. 

DeepBrain AI head of development, Joseph Murphy, explained that they do not create new content or create sentences that the deceased person would never have said, written, or validated during their lifetime. Calling it the “Rememory program,” Murphy shared that it is a “niche” part of their business and he does not expect it to be a growth area.


The idea of replicating a deceased person via digital means is not unique to this one company. StoryFile, which uses ‘Star Trek’ actor William Shatner to promote their service, also “captures the wonder of an individual” using AI tools. 

Still, some are unsettled by the technology, and Murphy acknowledges that it’s not for everyone. He shared that the challenge with this AI is philosophical, not technical. While some embrace the idea of communicating with loved ones after they are deceased, others worry that it could cause problems if the AI says something that the listener may find unacceptable. 

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