The Orwellian march of technocracy continues, according to this story spotted and shared by W.G. And it’s in the “whopper doozie” category:
The technology envisioned is straight out of transhumanist Ray Kurzweil’s The Singuilarity:
Microsoft has been granted a patent for technology that would “reanimate” the dead by re-creating them via social media posts, videos and private messages that could even be downloaded into a 3D lifelike model of the deceased.
Not creepy at all.
“The tech giant has raised the possibility of creating an AI-based chatbot that would be built upon the profile of a person, which includes their “images, voice data, social media posts, electronic messages,” among other types of personal information,” reports IGN. “It’s understood that the chatbot would then be able to simulate human conversation through voice commands and/or text chats.”
The patent explains that the chatbot could be a historical figure, a celebrity, a friend or relative or even a copy of “the user creating/training the chat bot
While the technology is, as the article states, “creepy,” there’s something much creepier lurking in the nooks and crannies. Consider simply the “socio-epistemological” effects. If such technology, along with holograms, artificial intelligence, and robotics were to become widespread, the result is that one might never know if the person one sees on the news or hears on the radio, for example, is indeed the real person, and the remarks really representative of the person himself. We have already seen stories on the internet about a recent appearance of Pope Francis at the Vatican “balcony” having been a hologram. Whether or not the story was real or not is not in view here. The fact that the technology exists and that so many people were willing to believe that his appearance might have been a hologram is the point. Consider, for example, the following video:
So in a world of holograms, “re-animated” people on social media, robots, and so on, the individual is left in the state of “Is it real, or is it Memorex?” Reality and truth become subject to technological manipulation.
So here’s my high octane speculation: what will happen in such a world? Two things stand out among many many possibilities. The first is a bifurcation of society. Increasingly, in a situation of socio-epistemological breakdown, a certain segment of humanity (probably a small one) will opt for reality, truth, and normalcy, and this segment will manifest itself by local relationships, trust, and “analogue” technologies (such as books, or owning a stereo and CDs, television and DVDs, and so on). In other words, such technologies as it possesses and relies upon will not easily be subject to external manipulation. To a certain extent, people who know me well know of my disdain for ebooks, or downloading films online to watch. Conversely, I suspect the vast majority of people will prefer the “virtual” reality, so long as it is thrilling, entertaining, and so on. The second thing that I strongly suspect will happen is that the latter group, as it pulls away from the first, will reach an inflection point where it is no longer identifiably human, or “normal”, and by that I mean no longer able to show or feel genuine empathy, compassion, or concern. It may end up being even less human than the “reanimated” personalities that populate its virtual existence. And its ability to know, reason, or deal with reality will be subject to an almost total epistemological collapse. “Body doubles” will so proliferate that ordinary society breaks down utterly.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve already made my decision as to which group I want to be in.
See you on the flip side…
cover image credit KELLEPICS, pixabay
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