While the concept of communication from beyond the grave has long been fodder for sci-fi stories, it’s much closer to becoming a reality than you might think.
Dr. Hossein Rahnama of Ryerson University and the MIT Media Lab has developed what he calls “augmented eternity,” or technology that brings together all the data produced by a living person — like emails, tweets and other social media posts — and feeds it into an artificial neural network. This then creates a replica of how that person speaks and acts that will last long after they die. Some experts are excited about the possibility of using the tech in educational settings. Students could, for example, ask William Shakespeare what he meant in a certain sonnet, or hear directly from Abraham Lincoln about what it was like to lead the country during the Civil War.
While these AI-powered bots may not technically make people immortal, they're a step toward making sure that the world's greatest minds stick around for as long as possible.