Immortal Avatars: Back Up Your Brain, Never Die
Companies such as Lifenaut are taking the initial steps toward the creation of a digital avatar into which one's knowledge and personality can be uploaded, and that survives its human template's death. There are various projects underway to make representations of the human face that are lifelike as well as empathetic in order to aid interaction with digital avatars. Another challenge is imbuing the avatar with human-like conversational abilities, and Lifenaut is customizing chatbot software for individuals. The Lifenaut avatar converses using capabilities derived from the Jabberwacky chatbot, which seeks common patterns in conversations and uses this to guarantee that its dialogue makes the most possible sense in the context of what has just been said to it. Uploading a personality into the Lifenaut avatar is arduous, starting with the rating of nearly 500 statements according to how accurately they reflect the individual's feelings, followed by the construction of "memories" for the avatar by uploading diary entries, photos, videos, and other material. The subject also must spend hours in conversation with other avatars, to be mined by his or her avatar as a source of knowledge and mannerisms.