Want to live forever? Tech firm wants to create your 'digital alter ego'
Ever dreamed of being immortal?
A new tech start-up is hoping to turn that fantasy into reality by creating a 3D "digital alter ego" of yourself who will talk to your family and friends after you've died.
Since its launch earlier this year, 25,000 hopefuls have signed up to a website called Eterni.me, lured by its tagline "Simply become immortal".
"Nobody wants to be forgotten," said Marius Ursache, co-founder and chief executive of Eterni.me. "All that we offer is to aggregate the digital data that every one of us spreads over the internet during his or her lifetime and condense them in a digital alter ego that allows an easy way of accessing this information in a focused manner."
All the digital content you create during your lifetime will be combined with artificial intelligence. Ursache says the result will be a digital version of your personality that will "interact with and offer information and advice to your family and friends after you pass away".
In signing up, you nominated which digital streams you wanted to process - Facebook, Twitter, emails, photos, location history, maybe even data from wearable technology like Google Glass or Fitbit, Ursache said.
"Facebook has a lot of information, but that's not who you are," he said, adding that "a lot of what we post there is junk". By collecting a wider range of digital content, it becomes a more realistic virtual picture of you.
Later, you will interact with this data in the form of an artificial intelligence avatar, or chatbot, which will try to emulate you, including how you look. As the technology advances, it will replicate your personality.
"What I want to re-emphasise is that we're not trying to create your clone, but to help you curate and leave a legacy for, well, eternity," Ursache told the Post.
The idea was concocted in February when Ursache teamed up with two other computer engineers at an entrepreneurship development programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. Ursache said the trio had been working on the technical side of the idea over the past few months and that an early version of the service would be launched next year.