The desire to find a way to gain immortality prompts humanity to invest colossal funds for the development of science and medicine. Recently we faced launch of many large-scale anti-aging campaigns, scientists in the field of anti-aging research and gerontology learned to increase life expectancy. Therefore, compared to the 20 years of the last century, the average life expectancy of residents of developed cities increased from 50–60 years to 78–82 years.
Despite numerous studies, not scientists engaged in the study of the physiology of the human body, have found the key to eternal life, but programmers did. In 2020, Microsoft has patented digital reincarnation technology. However, this is not about typical frames from films in which a person literally comes to life. The patent holding company plans to create digital copies of people in the form of intellectual digital interlocutor (chatbot).
The chatbot will be based on information about the real person and his biological data. To store the necessary information, a special remote web portal will be created. To download personal information, you can use any device with Internet access: a phone, tablet, laptop, or computer. The most important thing is that service capabilities will allow to create not only text chat bots, but also 2D or 3D graphics textured and animated human model as well as personalized voice synthesizer.
Just imagine if everyone can create an electronic version of any person with whom he talked or was familiar. That is, a copy can be created without consent of relatives or the person himself, and this is a violation of personal boundaries. In addition, the commission of any act on behalf of a person against his will can be regarded as crime.
At the same time, creating digital copies of people will entail the introduction of new programs storing personal data. Companies need to develop the most efficient database security system; otherwise, the probability of information leakage will increase in several times. If fraudsters manage to hack the operating system, confidential data will fall into the hands of attackers, which will increase the number of crimes on the network.
Now, it remains unclear whether it will be possible to create an electronic interlocutor, using information about a living person. On the one hand, people will have a chance to talk to a person with whom for some reason it is impossible to meet in person. But, on the other hand, making digital copies of living people is a direct attack on private human life, and in addition, it can lead to an increase in the number of cybercrime.
In my opinion, the introduction of digital clones will raise many questions, especially from an ethical point of view. There is a danger of blurring the boundaries between human and artificial intelligence. I believe that today the main task of developers is — to assess the real need to create such systems, as well as to respond to the question:
“Whether in this way it will be possible to achieve good goals or chat bots will become a way for a complete move of live to digital? “
The electronic chatbot image will be designed based on a whole set of information about a person. Therefore, when forming a digital clone, it is planned to use all kinds of images and photos, analyzing social media records and messages, as well as electronic letters. In addition, to create casts of voice, it is supposed to extract sound from videos from human participation and from voice messages in instant messengers.
Thus, when creating a chatbot, developers will use any available information about a person. The basis of the algorithm will be neural networks. I wonder what digital clone will not just write messages on human behalf, but answer questions of its interlocutor.
In order to achieve such an effect, special computer algorithms will be integrated into the chatbot. After that, the system will have to pass the Turing test. This is empirical research revealing the ability of a digital clone to think. The essence of the Turing test consists in the following: a person communicates with an interlocutor for several minutes blindly, that is, without seeing the opponent. Based on the answer of the interlocutor, the person must determine, who communicates with him: another person or bot. Chatbot will pass the test if it will be able to mislead the interlocutor.
It seems that the described functionality of the human digital reincarnation system is something from science fiction. However, I note: almost every one of us is already familiar with chat bots. Similar development is implemented on various platforms, for example, in social networks, instant messengers or used as online consultants on websites.There, the chatbot communicates on behalf of the brand. For example, a person goes to the legal aid website, where receives navigation help from the electronic assistant who is able to answer the most popular searches.
In China, a virtual interlocutor has already been created – Microsoft Xiaoais, which is a professional in several fields at once. Chatbot can be a singer, reader of children’s books, designer, TV presenter or radio presenter, journalist and generator of stock exchange reports.
The most popular voice assistant in Russia is the virtual assistant “Alice,” created by Yandex in 2016. “Alice” is able to recognize live speech, maintain dialogue and respond to user questions. Voice Assistant works on smartphones, computers, in cars and dock-stations. The popularity of the service is growing every year: according to recent estimates, approximately 8 million people use Alice daily, and the monthly audience of the service is 30 million.
Voice assistants and chat bots are one of the key parts of modern business. Large companies are actively introducing electronic assistants to simplify communication with customers and to identify quickly the needs of the target audience. Telecommunications Company Megaphone uses voice assistant Elena to reduce the load on call-centers. The service helps users solve simple problems of account management, get an expense statement, find out information about the available services. Similar program is also used in Tinkoff: it is easy to guess that the name of the virtual bank assistant is “Oleg.”
Despite the fact that the pace of development of Russian electronic assistants lags behind developments of Chinese or American counterparts, domestic developers have great potential. However, the widespread use of artificial intelligence will inevitably lead to problems on the labour market. This is due to the gradual eradication of the profession of a technical support operator and telephone advisor.
Obviously, over time, voice assistants will be modernized. Quite possible, in the near future, Microsoft’s patent will become a reality, and we can see electronic doubles with our own eyes.
By Roman Romanov, Head of SATEL Software Development Center