Life After Death

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Furthermore, the essential slickness of the stories would make them harder to detect as fraudulent, either by their human target audience or by human or AI experts. Trolls are one obvious downside to better AI language ability. Then imagine if it could do it while being sensitive to the context of what has gone before in a conversation, and being seemingly inventive and spontaneous , as GPT-2 was with its question-answering and story-creating abilities.

Capable replicas thus might happen if current AI progress holds. Proponents of replicas, starting with Rucker, have stressed that you could use many sources of data to train a replica program to behave like a known person. These days we have data recordings of audio and video conversations, blogs, photo libraries, text messaging, email, and other social media.

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Some of these are private, or maybe not accessible after some time passes. Storage and access to these materials would need to be solved. Automation of these would be a big step. For more historical figures there are their letters and other writing, as well as what historians, biographers, novelists, and filmmakers have said about the person. The general and big problem is how to organize the material so that it, in effect, behaves as a replica.

Any AI researcher will tell you that the likes of GPT-2, with its ability to respond to questions or elaborate on stories, is just a very capable mimic. Instead, it has vast knowledge, based on its training with real language examples, of all the ways that words and sentences go together.

There are many programs like GPT-2, although less capable, that we use every day in search engines and such.

I think of such programs as being like a super smart parrot, Jim, who lives in a busy restaurant. He would pick up bits of dialog from many patrons and soon learn to mimic how people talk. Jim would not learn the style of any particular person, but for anything you might say to him, he would have a plausible reply. The more long conversations that Jim memorized, the better he would mimic how a real conversation might go. If we stick with replicas whose ability is based on mimicry, their underlying software would have to be trained on many authentic conversations.

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Text messaging exchanges would help, but to get a greater range of emotions and nuance you might have to train a replica on dialogs from literature. Consider Jim again. He hears and mimics many people. Now we give him to a customer named Mae. Will he sometimes say things that seem unlike her? So here is the initial training issue. To create a mimic of a real person there might not be enough training data from that person alone to produce real language fluency. It will be necessary to first give a replica general language ability and then train it to be like aunt Mae or uncle Arthur.

This training trade-off seems really hard to me, but a breakthrough could happen. Decades of research have established the social nature of personality. Much of our personality is both created and expressed with regard to people whom we know. I have not yet seen any discussion of these issues in connection with personality replicas.

What happens when we die?

The first, bare minimum, steps to use social effects would be for a replica to know with whom it was interacting and to have a memory of previous conversations with each person. Without these features, a conversation with a replica would be frustrating, like talking to a real person who has dementia. If a replica is changed over time by its conversations with others then it might lose some resemblance to the person on which it was modeled.

At some point perhaps the kind of change allowed would become a design choice. Do you want a replica with strong or weak resistance to change? It might be very tricky for a programmer to get that right. It would be laborious to explain some news and all its background context before asking him what he thinks. However, if we instead give him direct access to current news feeds he will be changed from the original. If we try to tailor his news feed to things that the original would have read, would we even know what to pick?

The flow of a real conversation depends on how those talking feel from moment to moment. These branches of thought, along with bodily events, trigger emotional changes and jumps in attention. We would detect the lack of these when talking with a replica, and we would notice when it failed to respond appropriately to our changes.

Going back to Jim the parrot now, suppose there were times when the restaurant was not very busy, and he would get to listen to longer conversations at nearby tables.

Is There Life After Death?

If the patrons were being authentic, letting their feelings flow and emerge in conversation, then Jim would learn to mimic that flow. But would he learn enough to be consistently convincing if you tried to talk to him? Maybe not, because Jim has no internal mental state to modify his speech.

Sooner or later he will make a jarring non sequitur that reminds us he is just a parrot. Can we give a personality replica some feelings and internal associations that affect how it converses? This might be the hardest problem to solve because it tries not just to approximate verbal behavior, but the mind behind that behavior. I once told my daughter about the idea of making a personality replica to carry on after someone dies.

She reacted with vehement, vocal disgust at the concept. Maybe she scoffed at the very idea that a computer could have any relation at all, any similarity, to a real person. Others have made these points as well. These are very valid and compelling objections. The counter-argument goes as follows. Replicas can also be seen as just a step beyond eulogies, grave monuments, picture albums, biographies, web sites, portraits, posthumous awards, ancestor worship and other ways we honor the dead. Replicas are compressed memories with a conversational interface.

They should remind you of, not by any stretch replace, a loved one. Some people hallucinate their lost loved ones, retaining their influence as a mental presence. Simple replicas already exist. More will get made, and with a lot better fidelity and effective interactivity. They might become popular, but maybe not cheap. It is hard to imagine that good ones could be made without a lot of human curation effort. If social media and current bots are any examples, replica prevalence, sadly, will not depend on whether they do more good or harm.

So, as usual, we would benefit from forethought and debate. When some people approach the end of their life they think about writing a life story, a memoir, or even an autobiography. This can be: to pass on lessons learned; to not just disappear, but be something besides a headstone and decaying memories in the minds of significant others; or as an expression of undying love to those who mattered. Some might write their stories because they think the world just cannot do without them.

These are all also reasons why people might create, or ask for the creation of, their personal replica. Individuals or institutions might also create replicas of famous or important people.

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Their purposes could range broadly across a spectrum from propaganda, to education or advising. Some replicas might teach history, like the talking recordings that are appearing in museums. The chance of a replica making new accomplishments or innovating in some way seems to be distant from what we can expect. But other uses seem likely. Science fiction has long imagined ancestor replicas guiding the fortunes of descendants.

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This might work for more conservative social organizations. In fact, they might jump all over it. Something in between educational and advisory value might ensue if you had famous replicas confer with one another. Writers have often used the device of such dialogs before. You might benefit from assembling a personal advisory board, with replicas of wise, successful or if you are into that famous people.

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There could be AI help to resolve or clarify disagreements among the board members. Getting advice from a replica could give some depth of benefit with less effort than it would take for you to read and understand everything that the original person had said in life. But far more important is his urgent message: Who you meet in the afterlife and what you experience there reflect your present beliefs, expectations, and level of awareness.

Life After Death by Deepak Chopra, M.D.: | Books

In the here and now you can shape what happens after you die. By bringing the afterlife into the present moment, Life After Death opens up an immense new area of creativity. Ultimately there is no division between life and death—there is only one continuous creative project. Chopra invites us to become cocreators in this subtle realm, and as we come to understand the one reality, we shed our irrational fears and step into a numinous sense of wonder and personal power. TIME magazine has described Dr. This is an intellectual and spiritual tour de force. Read An Excerpt. By Deepak Chopra, M. Read by Deepak Chopra, M.

Best Seller. Paperback —. Add to Cart. About Life After Death What happens to the spirit after the body dies? About Life After Death Deepak Chopra has touched millions of readers by demystifying our deepest spiritual concerns while retaining their poetry and wonder. Listen to a sample from Life After Death. Also by Deepak Chopra, M.