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Ghost In The Machine: Living Forever As A Digital Avatar

18/04/2016 8:13 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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Imagine life after 100 years. Almost everyone living today will be dead and gone by then. All Facebook and other social media profiles of our generation will become digital graveyards. Today's young beauty will be tomorrow's dead grandma, today's leaders will be archived in digital libraries. And as has been the case for many millennia, this generation will disappear and the next one will take over. There will be no real people from our generation left to talk and inspire the future folks. But imagine a life where we can interact with our dead grandparents and friends virtually and on a regular basis just like we do with our contacts on Facebook and WhatsApp.

The start-up has been created to build interactive digital avatars of users that will preserve their important thoughts, stories and memories forever.

Imagine dead people still talking and responding like they did when they were alive, imagine them updating their online journals and giving you advice on Skype long after their last rites. It may have seemed completely implausible a few years ago but is well within the realm of the possible now.

Welcome to the idea of 'digital immortality' which creative entrepreneurs from our generation are striving to make a reality. The start-up Eterni.me has been created to build interactive digital avatars of users that will preserve their important thoughts, stories and memories forever. As the website announces:

We want to preserve for eternity the memories, ideas, creations and stories of billions of people. Think of it like a library that has people instead of books, or an interactive history of the current and future generations. An invaluable treasure for humanity.

If it becomes a reality, you could preserve your parents' memories forever and be assured of the living status of your own legacy even after you're gone in the form of a virtual avatar that mimics your personality and which can share stories with and speak with grandchildren and great grandchildren years into the future.

While the archival value of such a digital "library" of avatars is great, at a personal level it takes the edge off the pain of loss after the death of a loved one. While interacting with a digital avatar might be a bittersweet experience, knowing that the "person" is a reconstruction based on personal data, there might still be solace in sharing new moments and experiences with those who have departed and having them react. And with the advancement of technologies like mind uploading, Virtual Reality and 3-D printing, it is not unthinkable for there to be a day when you will be interacting with life-size avatars of your dead friends and relatives.

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