June 19, 2024 at 12:38 am

Missing Your Deceased Mom? This Company Will Give You An AI Clone For $150.

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

AI is in the news everywhere these days, and it’s no secret that there’s a raging debate on when and where it is appropriate to use it.

That said, I don’t think most people would have imagined wanting to buy a loved one’s likeness for a cool $150. Nonetheless, it has become a thriving cottage industry in China, and there is an increasing demand for the services.

MIT Tech Review reporter Zeyi Yang discussed the growing desire for this niche industry, reporting that people can buy AI replicas of their deceased loved ones for as little as $150.

Sun Kai co-founded Silicon Intelligence, one of the pioneers of this technology, beginning with a clone of his own mother.

Source: Shutterstock

He said the technology was clunky at first, but has improved and the comfort he felt from it was significant.

“My mom didn’t seem very natural, but I still heard the words that she often said: ‘Have you eaten yet?’ She would always repeat those questions over and over again, and it made me very emotional when I heard it.”

Confiding in the dead is a large part of Chinese ancestor worship culture, and even if this isn’t so traditional, Yang says people like it.

“So I would say it’s catching on, but only a small number for now. I talked to two companies who have done this service for over 2,000 clients combined. Obviously, compared to just 1.4 billion people that are in China, that’s still a small number. But they do describe that it has been growing a lot in the past year.”

Yang says that ethical concerns are minimized because the family members have given explicit consent.

“Some of them are saying that it shouldn’t be just one family member, but all of your surviving family members should agree on replicating you. And then they will proceed to do it.”

Source: Shutterstock

He definitely believes his “deathbot” or “ghost bot” will catch on in other places, too.

“I definitely think it can catch on in cultures where there is a tradition to either revere the dead or talk to them, or just trying to communicate with them in whatever spiritual ways.”

Honestly, this sounds like exactly the kind of thing grieving people would want.

At least AI will be doing something good for once.

If you enjoyed that story, read this one about a mom who was forced to bring her three kids with her to apply for government benefits, but ended up getting the job of her dreams.