Today is the day we set aside of observe some pagan ritual that we have re-labeled as Halloween.
In that vain I would like to offer up a ‘spooky’ post in honor of this day.
Have you wished you could somehow access the thoughts of your dead loved ones?
If so I have a post for you……
On its face, it’s not that strange that James Vlahos can talk to his father, John, any time he wants to on the phone. He can ask him about his favorite sports team when he’s curious. Or when he wants to ask him what his favorite song is. When the feeling strikes, Vlahos can just shoot his dad a message to see how he’s doing. Whatever it is, his dad is always quick to respond—sometimes with a straightforward answer, and sometimes with a joke.
But here’s the thing: Vlahos’s dad is dead. He passed away in February 2017, due to stage-4 lung cancer. The person Vlahos can chat with today on his phone isn’t his father exactly. It’s an AI chatbot that father and son created after the family learned about John’s terminal diagnosis.
“We knew we were going to lose and were scrambling to find ways to remember him,” Vlahos told The Daily Beast. “Meanwhile, I was working on a book about conversational AI, so I was learning about all of these ways that we can teach computers to talk in human-like ways.”
Vlahos came to the idea rather suddenly. Instead of simply recording John’s memories and stories on audio or video, he could have a more interactive way to revisit his father’s memories and personality through the same AI technology he was already exploring. “That was what gave me this idea that I could make this memory-sharing chatbot that I came to call Dadbot,” Vlahos said.
He went on to pen a story about Dadbot for Wired in 2017. Then word started to spread. Emails and calls came in from people from all over the world who were dying or who had dying loved ones that wanted to create similar chatbots of their own. Would you make a Mombot for me? Would you make a Dadbot for me? This became the inspiration for HereAfter AI, a web app created by Vlahos that lets you “preserve meaningful memories about your life and interactively share them with the people you love,” according to its website.
I do not need this ‘service’ for I was close with my father and knew full well what his thoughts were….he was a screaming bigot, he was also commenting on the female anatomy….and those were the main themes of his thoughts.
Check it oit and tell me your thoughts.
“lego ergo scribo”