Monday, June 03, 2024

AI: The Dead (Probably) Don't Care

"Not everyone would want to be reincarnated as a chatbot," Tamara Kneese wrote at Wired last year.

It's an interesting piece, and it goes into more (a lot more) than that single quote, including the possibly massive investments in maintenance and tech upgrades required to keep a person "alive" as an AI.

But it's that single quote I'm interested in, partly because I'm seeing variations of it (including first-person "I don't want that" statements) all over the place lately.


While you're alive, you may not like the idea of being "reincarnated" as an AI chatbot.

Once you're dead, you probably won't give a damn.

If there's not an afterlife, you won't care about anything.

If there is an afterlife, you may not even remember this life, and even if you do you remember it you're likely to have higher priorities than wringing your hands over a piece of software that pretends to be the former you. Maybe you'll be playing a harp around God's throne in heaven, or maybe you'll be reincarnated as a marmoset, or whatever. Either way, you're going to have new you things to do that will likely preclude worrying about AI-simulated old yous.

I guess I could be wrong.

Maybe there's an afterlife in which all we've got to fill our time is watch the people we knew in this life and worry about them, in which case we might feel that AI "reincarnations" are damaging to those people.

Or maybe, if there's such a thing as a "soul," an AI could capture that soul, become "me," and thus prevent me from passing on to heaven, hell, the bardo, etc.

But if there's an afterlife, speculation as to its characteristics is just speculation. We don't possess any kind of real/reliable information on it, so it's kind of silly to obsess over/at this level of detail.

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