, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 261-271
Date: 03 Aug 2007

Survival as a Digital Ghost

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Abstract

You can survive after death in various kinds of artifacts. You can survive in diaries, photographs, sound recordings, and movies. But these artifacts record only superficial features of yourself. We are already close to the construction of programs that partially and approximately replicate entire human lives (by storing their memories and duplicating their personalities). A digital ghost is an artificially intelligent program that knows all about your life. It is an animated auto-biography. It replicates your patterns of belief and desire. You can survive after death in a digital ghost. We discuss a series of digital ghosts over the next 50 years. As time goes by and technology advances, they are progressively more perfect replicas of the lives of their original authors.