Applications using artificial intelligence make it possible to establish a “form of communication” with a deceased loved one to relive unique moments with family or friends.

The loss of a loved one is a difficult ordeal to overcome. The memories remain, but the good times spent together are missing. We have all dreamed of being able to relive these unique moments with our parents, our grandparents or a loved one who passed away too soon. What if this was finally possible? If we could relive a few moments with the dead, those who are sorely missing from our daily lives? It seems totally crazy, yet there is now a way to maintain a connection with the deceased. We might as well say it straight away, this can either excite or frankly depress…

What are we talking about ? Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), a step has just been taken between technology and memory. Today, the collection and use of digital data combined with AI opens new doors and could allow us to relive moments with our deceased loved ones, based on memories. Odd ? What seemed impossible just a few years ago is now within the realm of achievable.

Two applications have been developed for this purpose. The first is HerAfter. It allows you to create a virtual version of the deceased using digital files – videos, photos – allowing you to then consult fabricated recordings or conversations in real time with the deceased, powered by memories stored in a database. For optimal results, this technology requires extensive preparation of prior interviews with the future deceased to then recreate their voice and “personality”.

The application, powered by AI, can then create post-mortem conversations: you can in fact ask questions to the missing person on their phone, the application generates sophisticated responses, based on hours of interviews conducted with her. The upfront process is long, but after a seven-hour interview with the client, the service guarantees a “sense of authentic emotion” with the recreation of moments with the missing member.

HereAfter, as the New York Times reports, was born from a chatbot that Mr. Vlahos, the company’s founder, created from his father before his death from lung cancer in 2017. Mr. Vlahos, conversational AI specialist wrote about his experience in the US media, and was quickly contacted by people asking if he could make it into a mombot, spousebot, etc. And the users cited by the American newspaper seem convinced of the usefulness and benefits of this application. “I was blown away,” says one user interviewed: “It was incredible for me to see how I could have this interaction with my father that was relevant and meaningful, and it was his personality. This man I missed a lot, my best friend, was there.”

Another app, examines social media data and online activities of the deceased individual, which generates an intelligent avatar and voice similar to the deceased. This avatar becomes a kind of interactive digital heirloom for loved ones who want to remember the good times and never really say goodbye to the people who meant the most to us.

Be careful, even if this technology offers a surprising opportunity, the potential psychological impact should not be neglected. Inappropriate use can even delay the process of grieving and have a counterproductive effect, according to psychology experts. Worse still, it can encourage dynamics of self-deception, which further aggravates the integration of the loss of a loved one. These new tools of digital transcendence open an immense window on the past, however, it remains important to properly consider the emotional and ethical implications of these artificial intelligence technologies.