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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

MIT's Skype chat with the dead

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CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.


MIT startup wants you to live forever in the form of a virtual AI that can Skype chat with your loved ones.

Do you want to live forever? Well, perhaps you can. Not literally, of course, but as an online presence that can comfort your loved ones after your death., a startup fresh out of MIT's Entrepreneurship Development Program, claims to have developed a means by which your personality can be digitally reconstructed after your death.

Although details on the website are thin on the ground, it works by assembling a portrait based on your online activities. You provide the team with chat logs, social network information, photos and emails, and it uses this information to reconstruct your memories and mannerisms.

" collects almost everything that you create during your lifetime, and processes this huge amount of information using complex Artificial Intelligence algorithms," the website reads. "Then it generates a virtual YOU, an avatar that emulates your personality and can interact with, and offer information and advice to, your family and friends after you pass away. It's like a Skype chat from the past."

There's not much more information available, aside from a bunch of headshots of the team of designers, engineers and business people. However, interested parties can enter their email address to receive updates about the launch, which is "soon". "We'll be accepting new users gradually," the page reads.

It's an intriguing idea, if it works as promised, but the team had better make sure security is locked down. We can't imagine it would be particularly pleasant receiving "performance enhancement" spam from a beloved grandma.


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