I just came across an account describing an AI chatbot that I found deeply disturbing.
You see… the chatbot turned out to be a simulation of a young woman, someone’s girlfriend, who passed away years ago at a tragically young age, while waiting for a liver transplant.
Except that she came back to live, in a manner of speaking, as the disembodied personality of an AI chatbot.
Yes, this is an old science-fiction trope. Except that it is not science-fiction anymore. This is our real world, here in the year 2021.
When I say I find the story deeply disturbing, I don’t necessarily mean it disapprovingly. AI is, after all, the future. For all I know, in the distant future AI may be the only way our civilization will survive, long after flesh-and-blood humans are gone.
Even so, this story raises so many questions. The impact on the grieving. The rights of the deceased. And last but not least, at what point does AI become more than just a clever algorithm that can string words together? At what time do we have to begin to worry about the rights of the thinking machines we create?
Hello, all. Welcome to the future.