It may sound like science fiction, but entrepreneurs and tech-savvy people in China have already started using artificial intelligence tools to create realistic avatars of dead people.
Using a combination of tools such as chatbot ChatGPT and Midjourney illustrator, as well as photos and recordings, funeral companies are beginning to create an interpretation of a deceased loved one that grieving families and friends can “communicate” with, according to the Guangzhou Daily. del Straits Times.
The technology was supposed to debut around the recent Qingming Festival, or Tomb Cleansing Day, celebrated on April 5 by ethnic Chinese around the world. Traditionally in China, this holiday is used to honor the dead by cleaning and decorating graves, burning joss paper and making offerings, the publication notes.
However, as times modernize, people are finding more technologically advanced ways to cope with the death of a loved one. Bloggers on a Chinese video sharing site Bilibili they shared their experiences using AI to talk to deceased loved ones.
One blogger, Wu Wuliu, uploaded a video to the platform in March, “Generating a virtual digital person of my grandmother using AI tools,” detailing how she used ChatGPT, AI paint, and speech synthesis to create a moving avatar of her late grandmother. He talked about growing up in a single parent household and being raised by his father and grandmother, and regretting not being able to see him one last time before he died. Thanks to technology, he was able to do this.
“The video I made will mainly ease my regrets by using AI technology and help me not think about the past so much,” he said in a blog post, as reported by The Straits Times.
Similarly, Shanghai Fushouyun, a company known for its digital funeral services, began organizing funerals using AI technologies in January 2022. The first such funeral was for a Chinese surgeon who had many distraught colleagues and students unable to say goodbye in person. . However, during the ceremony, they were able to speak with an AI-created version of him.
“We hope that the living understand that death is not the end of life. People want to use artificial intelligence to bring back the deceased because they need to release their emotions,” Fushouyun CEO Yu Hao told Guangzhou Daily.
The executive warns that a problem may arise if people end up drowning in their emotions. However, many have reported positive experiences using AI to communicate with their deceased loved ones. Some other funeral companies are even working on using artificial intelligence to help people grieve their dead pets.