Digital ‘Immortality’ on the Horizon: A Future We’re Not Prepared For

The emerging wave of AI-based “grief tech,” which includes offerings like digital avatars of deceased loved ones, is raising significant ethical questions about mourning and remembrance. While generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney are at the forefront of AI discussions, the larger ethical implications of using AI in grief-related contexts have been largely overlooked.

One company, Deepbrain AI, has already delved into digital immortality through its service Re;memory. For a hefty price of $10,000 and a few hours in a studio, users can create an avatar of themselves that their family can visit at an offsite facility. However, the current iteration only allows for basic interactions with limited personality depth.

Another service, HereAfter AI, aims to capture more of the deceased person’s personality by engaging friends and family in a series of questions. The AI chatbot provides verbal answers and stories from the past, though it still has limitations in responding to certain queries.