Sep 3, 2023

With “thanabots,” ChatGPT is making it possible to talk to the dead

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Since its public launch last year, the artificially intelligent chatbot ChatGPT has simultaneously wowed and frightened the world with its deep knowledge, its surprising empathy, and its undeniable potential to change the world in unforeseen, possibly miraculous or calamitous, ways. Now, it’s making it possible to digitally resurrect the dead in the form of chatbots trained on data of the deceased.

Developed by OpenAI, ChatGPT is an AI program called a large language model. Trained on more than 300 billion words from all sorts of sources on the Internet, ChatGPT responds to prompts from humans by predicting the word it should use next based on both its training and the prompt. The result is a stream of communication that’s both informative and human-like. ChatGPT has passed difficult tests, written scientific papers, and convinced many Microsoft scientists that it actually can understand language and utilize reason.

ChatGPT and other large language models can also receive more specific training to shape their responses. Programmer Jason Rohrer realized that he can create chatbots that emulate specific people by feeding ChatGPT examples of how they communicate and details of their lives. He started off with Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, as any good nerd would. He next launched a website called Project December, which allows paying customers to input all sorts of data and information and make their own personalized chatbots, even ones based upon deceased friends and family.

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