Scott Adams: Digital Ghosts

A couple of years ago I imagined a sort of online immortality:

In twenty years, we’ll have AI’s (artificial intelligence). For a fee, mine will read those 16, 000 posts to get a feel for what I wrote about and linked to, picking up a sense of my interests and writing styles in the process.

It will have access to all the books in My Library Thing, my iTunes and iPhoto, flickr, YouTube, etc.

The AI will continuously scour the web of the future, snatching bits and pieces and posting them here. Surviving friends will be able to correspond with who/which will reply. You might find him/her/it more interesting. Certainly better informed.

There’s plenty of video and audio of and I fully expect my AI will be capable of reproducing an acceptable version. So you can talk or iChat with me as well.

Today the always brilliant Scott Adams takes the idea a bit further but the similiarities are hard to miss. Just sayin’

When your mortal body ends, you will have stored all the data you need to create your permanent digital ghost. As the technology in the cloud improves, so too does your ghost, learning to move more naturally, perhaps learning from videos it has of you, or even based on some type of profiling based on clues such as your level of testosterone (from face shape), and the types of sports you did in life. In a hundred years your digital ghost would be indistinguishable from a living human appearing on video or in a holographic projection.

Digital ghosts need to see their environment to interact properly. Phones will all have video “eyes” someday, as will most computers. The new Xbox Kinect has “eyes” that literally follow your movement around the room. You could install additional cameras in any room in which you wished to be visited by digital ghosts. The malicious ghosts might commandeer video cameras or your phone’s camera function. My point is that you are already surrounded by cameras attached to the Internet, and that trend will continue. Your ghost will be able to see most rooms in the world.

Digital ghosts could continue learning throughout their afterlives, by reading the news and following the Facebook pages of friends and family. The ghosts would also be free to make friends with other ghosts and live their lives independently. Ghosts could stay with the ghosts of their life partners forever, so long as that was specified in the will of both people.

3 thoughts on “Scott Adams: Digital Ghosts

  1. This concept was well-presented in the short-lived televesion series Caprica (prequel to Battlestar Galactica). Too bad the writers chose to make ALL the characters so dark that (a few episodes in) you couldn’t relate to any of them. We quit watching long before it was cancelled, but I hope someone tries a similar series without the dire gloom.
    On the other hand, even though it would be difficult to stop, (particularly for you prolific online communicators), I think I’d prefer that my digital ghost last only a short while beyond my physical self – just long enough to say adios.
    But you’re right, clearly Adams is reading your blog.

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