By: Leah Heilbrunn
Editor’s note: This is Leah’s last post as she returns to be a full-time student. Stay tuned as we find a new editor to keep her legacy going.
Millions of people use social media on a daily basis, especially millennials, but every platform has a major design flaw – a user must be alive to post. How are we supposed to share a new hot music video from the dead? The fact that we can’t is absolutely outrageous. Well, a new site recently announced a service that will keep your personality alive while you might not be.
Though it isn’t the first, ETER9 is the newest site to promote an eternal, digital consciousness1. They claim that, through analysis of your social media activity, an AI platform is able to simulate your personality. This artificial being can then post and interact just like you would, eventually becoming your digital persona after your death. The way I see it, this AI can only thrive once you’re out of the picture; it isn’t just like you, it is you. That, to me, is a bit of a terrifying concept.
As Sarah Connor would most likely warn us; sentient AI is not the best idea. This social media technology obviously has the capability to observe and learn- so only time and some updates are between us, and robots aware of their superior robot-ness. This new site also has the option to “adopt” an artificial child, so our virtual counterparts will have even more human likeness. Though only in the BETA stage, the site is a new option to keep a social media presence going forever. Even if you’re not dead, the counterpart can still post while the user isn’t online – so using a digital personality might have advantages over mere mortals who need to work, sleep, etc.
I may have seen more science fiction films than is normal, but even Elon Musk warned of AI’s threat at an MIT symposium. Disregarding my theories on sentience in machines, the soonest threat posed by artificial intelligence is their utility. Artificial intelligence could possibly be used for large-scale weapons projects and war (why anyone would just give these machines weapons is beyond me). Musk’s warning against AI is echoed in a recent tweet, which stated, “We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes.”2
While this social media site is very interesting, the technology it claims to use sounds way too smart for comfort. I’ll decide at one point if my social media presence is cool enough to sustain it for eternity. But at this point, I’m brainwashed by the trope of machines with agency and consciousness – though we’ve only seen this in movies, it could be a future possibility as technology advances. I’m with Elon on this one.