Technology is rewriting yet another chapter in the book on death. In addition to forestalling physical death with machines that can breath for us when are efforts fail, pump blood when our hearts gives out or need repair, or float our brains in a medically induced coma to buy time to neurologically regroup, it is now making it possible for all of us to have a digital afterlife that goes beyond a retrospective memorial of who we were.
We are talking about chatbots created from our personal data including emails, texts, and tweets that is then fed into artificial neural networks that have the ability to model brains and process new information. The end product is that we become a digital version of our physically departed selves.
Ideally, this involves a zettabyte (1 trillion gigabytes) of information to that would be used to create augmented-eternity chatbots, an entity based on us moving forward in time instead of who were at our time of death. Our body dies but our personality and our conversations continue. Comforting and creepy.
Like the infertility clinics that now offer options of choosing gender and eye color among other things, we have no idea what augmented eternity really means or where it will take us. But take us it will as technology reconfigures both life and death at its own digital clip, leaving us to sort out its disruptive implications…