Artificial intelligence programming is making it possible for computers to learn to improve chat responses from the inputs they receive. In 1950, Alan Turing developed a test to use for determining a computer’s ability to exhibit behaviors and give responses that are so similar to a real human that it is not possible to tell the difference. Turing predicted in the 1950s that computers would be able to pass the Turing Test by 2000.
Chatbots Come Alive
Knowmail says that two chatbot systems claimed to have passed the Turing Test. One is called Eugene Goostman released in 2001. The other is called Cleverbot, which its developers claim passed the Turing Test in 2011. Not everyone agrees that these chatbots passed the test; however, it is clear that these systems continue to improve as evidenced by the female Eviebot and its male counterpart Boibot. Both of these systems come from the Cleverbot AI.
Digital Dead Will Eventually Exceed Living People
Intelligent Contacts say that text messaging is now the most popular form of communication with over 80 percent of Americans using text messages. BBC reports that by 2012, there were over 30 million Facebook users that died since the social media system started in 2004, which is more than three million per year. Estimates are that over 9,000 Facebook members die each day. Assuming Facebook continues, at some point, there will be more dead Facebook members than living ones.
Facebook allows surviving friends and family member to memorialize a Facebook account after someone dies. This process prevents the account from being misused by an unauthorized person and allows friends and family to post their memorials.
Live Forever As A Chatbot
Leaving memorial postings on Facebook gives some comfort. However, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to communicate with people after they died? That is what Marius Ursache thought when he lost a dear friend. Eugenia Kuyda has a similar experience when her friend Roman died at age 34 in a car accident. She worked with AI programming to develop a chatbot called Replika that would respond in a way similar to what Roman would say if he was still alive.
Out of this sadness from losing a friend and the comfort of being able to continue a conversation with a simulation, which was experienced by these two technology pioneers, came the idea to develop Eternime, which was founded in 2014. The project is still in beta-testing (as of November 2018). Over 40,000 people have already signed up to be the first users.
Business Insider says that Eternime is a system that a person uses to create a virtual version of their personality while they are still living. This AI system harvests information from a person’s smartphone. It develops a personality of a person by chatting with the living person. Depending on how much input the system receives from a user, it develops a complex and accurate digital representation of that person.
There are many ethical concerns about creating an accurate digital copy of your personality including if you want your secrets shared with others and if so with whom? People are just now starting to realize that, barring any unforeseen calamity, all the information collected about them will be kept forever. The potential abuse of this personal data is a serious risk.
The technology is now available for those who want to live forever as a virtual version of themselves or chat with an avatar that represents the personality of a person who died. Advancements in AI programming are making these simulations so realistic that they will definitely pass the Turing Test.