Sticking dead relatives in these isn't quite the point

The idea that we’d make robots to mimic our dead relatives is rather to miss the point. A more desirable goal is to make soon to be dead relatives into robots so they don’t die – very much the opposite idea in fact. So, this seems to us to fail at the first hurdle of doing something useful:

Swedish scientists believe that artificial intelligence can be harnessed to create ‘fully conscious copies’ of our loved ones after they die, according to Sputnik News.

Scientists are looking for volunteers who are willing to offer up their dead relatives for the study.

They would use AI to reconstruct the voices of those who’ve died to allow family members to communicate with their deceased loved ones.

It’s that fully conscious part which isn’t quite there.

Scientists also want to build robot replicas that look exactly like family members and friends who have died, the report claims.

What’s more, the scientists hope AI can be used to make the robot clones capable of completing more sophisticated tasks.

The robots might be equipped to answer simple questions related to the weather, what time it is and more.

No, really, that’s not what is desired at all, is it? A bad copy that can only answer the simplest questions? That’s just what Granny’s dementia caused before her death, wasn’t it?

Sure, they say that they’ll work on more complex things but that then runs smack into the Turing test. We don’t know how to make an AI indistinguishable from a human just yet. Let alone one that can contain a human.

This is not the first time such an idea has surfaced. Prominent futurist, Dr Michio Kaku has said that humans will be able to upload their minds (memories, personality) to machines in the future and speak to people even after they die.

That’s rather more what the goal is. That we upload to machines and thus don’t die. Although even that is fraught. For the copy left behind in meatspace is still going to die even if the mechanical version lives on. We’re not going to beat death therefore, even if a personality can live forever. A version of that personality is still going to go through that death.

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  1. The robots might be equipped to answer simple questions related to the weather, what time it is and more.

    Yeah, I can see some people might think this is an improvement.

    A robot copy is not the same as an original. You do not have a relationship with your sexbot even if she is programmed to look and sound like your ex. You just don’t. No matter how good the copy is.

    I think a good rule of thumb is that if an Arnald Schwartenegger film has dealt with this issue more intelligently than you, you should shut up. Over to the Swedes for a response.

  2. As usual, Douglas Adams got there first:

    “I thought you said you could just read his brain electronically,” protested Ford.
    “Oh yes,” said Frankie, “but we’d have to get it out first. It’s got to be prepared.”
    “Treated,” said Benji.
    “Thank you,” shouted Arthur, tipping up his chair and backing away from the table in horror.
    “It could always be replaced,” said Benji reasonably, “if you think it’s important.”
    “Yes, an electronic brain,” said Frankie, “a simple one would suffice.”
    “A simple one!” wailed Arthur.
    “Yeah,” said Zaphod with a sudden evil grin, “you’d just have to program it to say What? and I don’t understand and Where’s the tea? — who’d know the difference?”
    “What?” cried Arthur, backing away still further.
    “See what I mean?” said Zaphod and howled with pain because of something that Trillian did at that moment.
    “I’d notice the difference,” said Arthur.
    “No you wouldn’t,” said Frankie mouse, “you’d be programmed not to.”