Bereavement Bots?

It’s been a while….

… but nice to see the patterns of Computer Science coming in full circle again, this time revisiting the Turing Test in the form of our beloved AI-focused chatroom bots.

Interesting article in today’s SMH (snapped attached for your fiscal pleasure as behind the paywall) which mentions ELIZA in 1968 which I recall was the first practical automated Turing Test.

The honing of AI algorithms from consuming huge amounts of data reminded me of an episode of Black Mirror a near-future series of short Twilight-Zone type episodes.

Basic plot of this episode (“Be Right Back” from 2013) is that a woman’s husband dies in a car crash and she seeks comfort in an AI which mimics him. Essentially constructed via a service for the recently bereaved – you give the service provider access to all social media accounts of the deceased. An AI bot scans through every post made/emails sent/received, cross-refs with public posts etc. and constructs a bot tailored to the personality of the recently deceased…images-2

Starts off with a simple chatroom … and progresses from there through enhancing the simulation through the simulation of speech from old recordings and jumps past VR to 3D construction etc. A bit kitsch but fascinating premise nonetheless.

Macquarie Uni developing natural language tech ploughing through text collections, newspaper archives, Government archives etc. – not such a great leap to freaky deaky LawnMower Man? (and that pic is Lawnmower Man actor Jeff Fahey wearing a very familiar looking VR headset back in 1992 – not much changed in 24 years!!!!)