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Dead could be kept alive, interacted in future: UK academic

Teesside University

Deceased family members in future could be brought back to life, interacted with and kept alive forever in a virtual reality accurately created from their movements and social media history, a UK-based academic has claimed.

Computers will be advanced enough in around 50 years that they can create “synthetic digital life” based upon people’s past movements, preferences and history on social media, Simon McKeown, a reader in Animation and Post Production at Teesside University in Middlesborough, has said.

These avatars would be created using a process called “photogrammetry”, which can accurately reconstruct a virtual 3D shape of a human being from existing photographs and video.

Computer voice synthesis will take into account local and regional accents to deliver a more accurate representation of what they sounded like.

Dubbing the idea as ‘Preserved Memories’, McKeown claims that people would be able to construct a reality to avoid ever having to say goodbye to loved ones.

“In the future with Preserved Memories, you will never have to experience the loss of a loved one. You will be able to add to your family tree and select new family members, including famous faces and legends, all of whom will already know about you,” McKeown was quoted as saying by ‘The Telegraph’.

“Using emotion-sensitive human-computer interaction our artificially intelligent participants continue to acquire ongoing knowledge long after their death – they evolve digitally and do not die,” he said.

Showcasing ‘Preserved Memories’ at an exhibition in Prague, McKeown said this life form will be up to date and informed of “your daily activities through GPS, Wifi, health and fitness tracking, consumer records and much more.”

“They will know if you have passed your exam, driving test, flown on holiday, bought new shoes, ditched your boyfriend. They will know what you tell it on social media and also by the constant tracking that occurs every day,” he said.

McKeown said our prime data feeds meant digital participants instantly know what we have done and can sense our physical mood and excitement.

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