Who wants to live forever? Well, that could be the interminable virtual ending facing us all as the merging of augmented reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning and, of course, the metaverse, come to bear on the one facet of life that – until now – has been inevitable.
The desire to reconnect with people we’ve lost is natural and so it’s similarly obvious that designers and engineers have begun to investigate ways they can provide supply for the most grisly of demands – bringing back the dead. And in recent years, breakthroughs in technology have fuelled a slew of efforts that provided several forms of virtual immortality from virtual reality to artificial intelligence.
Now plans are afoot to allow an entire ‘digital afterlife’ in the metaverse as users will be able to create avatars of a deceased person and virtually bring them back to life.
Somnium Space and ‘live forever‘…
Somnium Space is a metaverse world that features a ’Live Forever’ option which allows a virtual version of you to become eternal and communicate with your loved ones even after you die. It’s a concept that’s similar to Dual, the 2022 satirical sci-fi thriller starring Karen Gillan. Only in that movie, things take as a step up as you’re actually replaced by a physical version of you…
As you may expect, users who wish to have the pleasure of virtually living forever will have to submit a comprehensive amount of personal information to Somnium Space in order for this to happen.
Artur Sychov, founder and CEO of Somnium Space said in a conversation with Vice, “If I die — and I have this data collected — people can come or my kids can come in, and they can have a dialogue with my avatar, with my actions, with my voice. You will meet the individual. And you might not realize that it’s AI for the first 10 minutes of speaking with that individual. That is the intention.”
The Live Forever mode was inspired by the untimely passing of Sychov’s father due to cancer. The CEO believes that deceased loved ones will be able to communicate with you via their avatar in the metaverse long after they’re gone in real-life. The goal is to make an eternal avatar that can move, talk, and act exactly as you did when you were alive.
How do you access the Live Forever mode in Somnium Space?
The Live Forever mode is not yet available in Somnium Space. However, the first step will be to collect and store data from anyone who wants to participate. The metaverse company plans to commence work on the Live Forever mode this year and users who are interested in trying it must opt in and pay a fee.
Somnium Space has also invested in and has collaborated with Teslasuit, a company that has no relation to Elon Musk’s Tesla, who are developing a full-body haptic suit for virtual reality. According to Sychov, the suit will not only provide electrical impulses equivalent to human touch to anyone wearing it, but it will also provide extra data, thanks to the presence of a medical-grade biometric scanner that monitors heart and stress levels.
Desmond Frencken, the company’s CEO, stated, “Being able to deliver a speech at your death has been on my bucket list.” We’ve now made it feasible. It’s a more intimate message than a movie. You can stand there because the projection is so clear and vivid as if it were you.”
Somnium Space’s first set of AI replicas of its users – where people can be duplicated as avatars with motions and basic communication abilities – are expected to be released in 2023.