Digital resurrection: technical, ethical and financial challenges

The possibility of resurrecting the dead in the digital space has piqued the interest and intrigued many. Modern language models such as ChatGPT offer the creation of convincing chatbots that mimic the personalities of the deceased. However, there are a number of challenges behind this innovation, ranging from technical complexities to ethical and financial issues.

One of the main challenges relates to the technical aspects of preserving the “digital legacy” of the deceased. This is a task that is far from trivial. Generative AI requires constant support from annotators and moderators, as well as interfacing with systems ranging from servers to operating systems to keep it running. However, the technologies themselves are not eternal, and some projects have already proven to be unviable. For example, Intellitar’s Virtual Eternity project, which sought to create virtual copies of people, disappeared along with the company’s website.

Financial instability is a major obstacle to the development of such projects. Creating and maintaining generative language models requires huge financial outlays. For example, ChatGPT alone costs $700,000 per day to maintain. Such models are unlikely to stand the test of time and could bankrupt OpenAI by 2024. In addition, the operation of such systems is detrimental to the environment, which is especially relevant in the context of the climate crisis.

Ethical and psychological aspects are also significant when discussing the possibility of digital resurrection of the dead. The question arises as to who has the right to create a digital replica of the deceased. Resolving this issue can cause ethical and psychological issues ranging from violation of individual rights to mental trauma in loved ones. Creating chatbots based on the personal data of the deceased without the consent of their relatives can create legal conflicts and moral dilemmas.

Attempts to create convincing digital replicas of the deceased face a number of challenges. For example, technical obsolescence is a major challenge to the long-term preservation of digital doubles. The financial volatility of the projects also poses some risks to their long-term viability. In addition, ethical issues related to the right to create digital replicas of the deceased require serious discussion and regulation.

Maintaining digital doubles requires the constant work of living people, from programmers to relatives of the deceased. This creates an emotional and financial burden that can be overwhelming for those caring for the “digital person.”

However, despite the complexities and challenges, the idea of digital resurrection continues to attract attention and generate interest. In April, Dr. Pratik Desai, founder of several AI startups, said that by the end of 2023, humanity will have the ability to “revive” deceased relatives in VR space. According to him, a person’s consciousness could be uploaded to a computer.

Digital resurrection of the dead remains a complex and multifaceted issue that requires serious discussion and analysis. Technical, ethical and financial issues pose serious challenges to the development of such technologies. However, despite all the difficulties, the idea of digital resurrection continues to attract the attention and interest of scientists and the public.

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