February 25, 2015 in the App Store appeared the application Luka - a bot that tracks tastes and habits, and then recommends a suitable restaurant or cafe. Soon an entertainment assistant, a news search engine, a game chat bot were added to the main robot. In the fall of 2016, a startup Luka announced a service for creating a special bot - an exact digital copy of a person who will “live” after you and will completely replace you on the Internet. Or maybe not only on the Internet.
Life is not the same without bot
More than 4 million mobile apps have been created for Android and iOS. According to comScore, the user uses an average of only 3. One of them takes 50% of the time. The most popular type is messengers. With the growing popularity of developers turned simple chat rooms into complex ecosystems, in the center of which a horde of serving bots.
A study by Imperva Incapsula for 2015 states that 49% of global web traffic is the result of bot activity. The audience of the Chinese messenger WeChat - 762 million people. Bots from this application help to order a taxi, buy tickets, book tables, play games. And all this without the help of other programs. Only WeChat.
Bots learn using artificial intelligence. They understand human requests better, guess abstract thoughts more often, adapt to the manner of communication of a specific user. Programs are increasingly and more successfully pass the Turing test, and in communication they are more similar to a real person every day.
Do not distinguish from the living
In November 2015, a tragedy happened in Moscow - the founder of the startup company Stampsy Roman Mazurenko died. Blow for loved ones, unwillingness to accept, thirst to keep a person close. Friends wanted to preserve the memory of him - to create a book, run the site. Yevhen Kuyda, co-founder of Luka and one of the creators of a smart bot to search for restaurants, rereading the endless messages of a friend, noting the errors and phrases peculiar only to him, decided that this could become the basis for creating a new, completely different type of bots.
TensorFlow is a free, open source library of software from Google. It’s a machine learning system that Google uses to develop all of its smart products, from speech recognition to image search or automatic subtitling on YouTube.
Luka used the system to design their restaurant bot. For his training it took 30 million phrases of the Russian text. Later, instead of them downloaded a correspondence with Roman. The @Roman bot, which initially didn’t respond at all, turned out to use standard dry answers, when it didn’t know what to say, but studied and became more like the person he was in life.
Digital life after death
In 2014, a startup Eternime appeared. This is a neural network that collects your thoughts, messages on social networks, analyzes posts and likes, and then creates a virtual avatar that looks and acts just like you. According to the developers, such an avatar will live forever, will allow other people to more easily cope with the loss of loved ones, will facilitate access to the memories. Now the service is still frozen in test mode, but according to the developers who want to live forever, already more than 32,000.
In March 2013, the LivesOn service appeared, which, according to your desire, was taken to keep a Twitter account. It remains for you to appoint a person in charge who can remove posts if he thinks that you wouldn’t let go of such a joke.
DeadSocial. Another way to prolong life after death. Unlike previous projects, this is not a bot, not a neural network, or artificial intelligence. To live forever, you have to prepare in advance the texts and photos that will be posted on social networks after death. To begin with, you write a farewell letter, assign a responsible person who activates a creepy account, and that’s all - your relatives and friends see how you post memes from the other world.
Study DeadSocial. To the question "If someone close will die, is it important for you to continue to view his account" 69% answered yes.
Already today, enough resources have been accumulated for the creation and development of such services. Social networks are multiplying the accounts of people who will no longer be able to respond to messages. And someone would really like this.
From a psychological point of view, this is normal. How does a social network account differ from a framed photo and a chat bot differs from an old video on film? Previously, we ordered portraits and monuments, and now digital copies of people close to us.
Bot @Roman caused mixed reactions. Someone thanked, someone outraged. Someone remembered the episode of the British TV series "Black Mirror", where the girl communicated with a smart program to replace the dead boyfriend, and then received an exact physical copy of it, into which they loaded a smart bot. Most likely, this is the next step, because to create an exact physical copy, as for me, is easier than to repeat the way of thinking. Scary.
Therapeutic effect? Maybe. Bot gets smarter. Now he has access to an extensive database of photos that he uses as answers, and the developers have replaced the selective model with a generative neural network. If earlier @Roman simply selected suitable answers from the already existing text blocks, now the program is able to combine sentences and form the appropriate answer itself, keeping the manner and style of communication of the novel.
The next step for Luka developers is the new Replika service. With it, you can create your own exact digital copy. To do this, you need to register, specify the name of the future bot, and just communicate with it using SMS messages. The robot will learn from you, copy the vocabulary and style of communication. He can also use information about you from social networks.
The bot should be your assistant, who can book a restaurant, buy tickets, take part of the routine and exist after you after death. At the moment, the service is in standby mode, but already within 6 months it promises to start. Right now, you can register a place for beta testing. Minus - communication in Russian is not yet provided. Whether from the globalization of English, and maybe from the inability of the robot to understand the logic of the Russian soul. ☺
Someday you will die too
And me, and you once will not. But there will be a ton of text messages, posts, comments and other digital information on the Internet. There will be more advanced services that can make you not a shadow, but an exact digital copy. Relatives will have the thought "but not to do so." Perhaps this is a way to reduce the trauma that death still inflicts on society. A way to survive the hard times painlessly. The main thing is not to experience illusions and understand that this is a robot, and not by a miracle who has returned to life.
And let the hype around the Mazurenko bot personally reminds me of black PR for the promotion of a new service (we would like to honor the memory, would not make it public so as not to get tons of negative), the precedent itself gives reason to think. All these pictures, melodies and texts that neuronets only learn to create, all these simple actions and algorithms are only a transitional stage to a full-fledged replacement of a person.
What will it do besides communicating with the dead? You may be able to sell your copies and work in several companies at once, or you will be able to multiply yourself and there is no need to hire staff. For example, Sberbank is already implementing the Iron Lady algorithm, a bot that, instead of a living employee, will communicate with debtors. This is not an answering machine, but a real interlocutor who teaches new words, knows how to identify emotions at that end of the line and acts according to the situation. Will this be a common practice? I am sure that yes, but let's see - the result is not far off.