In the last issue of the Die Zeit there was an interesting article about Vive Studios, a South Korean digital visualization and content creation company. Using VR technology and terabytes of data, they created an avatar of a seven year old girl who had died of organ failure and reunited her in a virtual world with her mother. In a short making of video, CEO Stanley Kim explains the technical process behind the project.
What Mr. Kim unfortunately does not explore are the myriad ethical and philosophical questions that this project raises. Just one example, in the above project the parents willing gave consent, financed, and provided the data needed to realize the recreation of their daughter, Nayeon.
What happens, however, when Google, Amazon or any other big tech company with access to the troves of digital data needed to enable the posthumous reanimation of an individual performs such an act? Do they need consent from the deceased’s descendants? What if there are no descendants? What if the reanimated individual professes ideas or makes statements that they would not have made as a biological entity? What if the avatar is used in advertising promotions, or political campaigns, or by religious groups, or … ?
This is just one issue. What other issues and questions come to your mind regarding the virtual resurrection of the deceased? Leave a comment.