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Digital Afterlife: AI Technology and Grief in the Digital Age

1 Mins read

Photo was created by Webthat using MidJourney

The Void of Loss

Sunshine Henle, a Floridian, experienced a profound void when her mother, Linda, unexpectedly passed away. Despite the physical distance between them, they stayed connected through calls and texts, providing constant support and companionship.

AI Offers Comfort in Grief

In her search for solace, Henle turned to AI technology in this Digital Age. Using ChatGPT, she inputted her last text messages with her mother and requested replies in Linda’s voice. The AI-generated responses brought unexpected comfort and wisdom, alleviating some of the grief.

Exploring the Boundaries of Grief Tech

Henle’s experience with ChatGPT raises ethical questions about the rights of the deceased and the boundaries of technology. The use of AI to simulate interactions with departed loved ones sparks debates on the nature of personhood and the impact of digital afterlife technologies.

AI and Closure: A Complex Journey

Chris Cruz also turned to ChatGPT after losing his father, Sammy, trying to find closure and express his feelings. While the AI-generated response provided support, not everyone understood or accepted the use of AI for grieving.

The Rise of Grief Tech

Advances in this Digital Age have paved the way for a burgeoning field of “grief tech,” promising ways to maintain digital connections with deceased loved ones. Virtual reality (VR) documentaries, AI image generators, and platforms like Here After AI are examples of such technologies being utilized for grief support.

Ethical Considerations for the Digital Afterlife

As AI technology progresses, concerns over the rights and dignity of the deceased emerge. Critics argue that AI impersonations can misrepresent individuals and raise questions about consent. The need for a digital do-not-reanimate (DDNR) order and the importance of enthusiastic consent from the deceased are highlighted.


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