A recent tech story that illustrates the idea of using today’s digital tools to pay “yourself forward” to future generations, caught my eye this week.

son creates a "dadbot"

The news article was Wired Magazine’s article  “How a Son Made a Chatbot of His Dying Dad.. James Vlahos’ father was dying, so he set out to save his dad’s memories and code them into a ‘Dadbot’ that lives on his phone.”  The motivation to stay connected via a “soulful” chat using the technology of chatbot software, I thought was both innovative and touching. Now that online tools like chatbots are becoming more accessible we may see the emergence of new ways of staying connected with the people we care about.

Since 2006,  here at the Lifenaut project, we’ve been offering participants in our “mind uploading experiment” the opportunity to  create  “Mindfiles” and “Avatar chatbots” that can preserve your  “essential mental characteristics”  for the future.  Even after spending only a few days of creating and training your photo based Lifenaut avatar, you can start to see a digital representative that can give future family and friends  access to a collection of  your “Bemes”  (think personal “memes”) which are made up of the patterns of information contained in your “memories, values, attitudes, mannerisms and behavior”.  I can imagine a day when it will be quite ordinary to put effort into creating an interactive avatar/chatbot that can represent you long after your “biology” as passed with future branches of  your family tree.

In fact a new meme may emerge that “Its never to late to start backing yourself up” and there maybe both short term and long term benefits to be enjoyed by those of us who are curious about using today’s tech to stay in touch with the future.

NYT Photography Review: “Humanoid” mentions Bina48 (March 2017)

In a review of Max Aguilera-Hellweg‘s   “Humanoid”, the New York Times LENS section:  “One of the most amazing parts of Mr. Aguilera-Hellweg’s book comes at the end, where he has pictures of Bina48, a geminoid bust made by Martine Rothblatt to resemble her spouse, Bina Rothblatt, who spent 20 hours recording her life history. Those recordings were programmed into the machine, along with other algorithms, to create consciousness. Mr. Aguilera-Hellweg witnessed a spontaneous moment when Bina48’s caretaker asked her how she was doing.  “I am dealing with a little existential crisis here,” the robot replied. “Am I alive? Do I actually exist? Will I die?

One of the more controversial ideas of transhumanism is the notion of mind uploading where the essence of a person, their mind, would be transferred to a computer. A related but less ambitious project is constructing a simulated “second self” or mindclone to continue your personality, work and relationships after death. Or perhaps just to help you be more efficient while still alive.

Companies such as eterni.me, Gordon Bell’s MyLifeBits, and Terasem’s Lifenaut are pursuing this goal.

Read more

LifeNaut was featured in April 2013 issue of Cyronics magazine titled, “Alternatives for Very Long-Term Storage of Personal Information & Materials”. Below is an excerpt and link to full article in PDF format:

An important consideration for many cryonicists and other immortalists is the long-term storage of information and materials such as audio and video recordings, photos, documents and records, to be retrieved at the time of revival or cloning. In the future these simply may be welcome and ejoyable connections to one’s prior life, or they could serve as aids in reconstructing one’s identity and personality. Storage may also include objects such as memorabilia or those with possible future value such as precious metals and jewels, or even tissue and DNA samples. Assuming that revival could take as long as a hundred or hundreds of years to become feasible, it would not be reasonable to expect that one can leave records and material with friends or relatives and expect them to be continually garded, maintained, and passed on through future generations. This article is a brief survey of currently available methods of potentially very long-term storage, including discussion of their respective advantages and disadvantages, and some recommendations by the author…

Full Article

learning-100PRESS RELEASE:

This year’s Learning! 100 winners share common experiences. These honorees have been transforming their learning and talent programs. They started from scratch, enabled new technologies and processes, and ended up being more efficient and impactful. The most successful have been named 2013 Learning! 100 award winners. In its 3rd year, the Learning! 100 awards honor high performance, organizational culture, innovation and collaboration.

Click here for full story

You Robot Huffington Post (July 2012)

We were really pleased to be included in Huffington #5 Magazine for the Ipad. Lucas Kavner has written a fine article  about Bina48 and the LifeNaut  Project. Let us know what you think? Another example of how Mindfiles and Androids are becoming more and more well covered by the media.

Ten years before the Civil War, the city of Rochester, NY asked Frederick Douglass to speak for its July 4, 1852 celebration. Douglass accepted, but rather than join in the ‘celebration,’ Douglass took it in an unexpected direction. In this clip, Danny Glover performs part of that speech (hat tip to the Zinn Education Project and MoveOn.org)

 

Thinking about the future, we should be ever vigilant (esp on 4th of July) about America’s history of being slow to accept the rights of  all people because of some “difference”. Race,Ethnicity,Disability, and Sexual Orientation to name a few. How will people who choose to continue their consciousness with technology be recieved e.g. Transbeman’s?

 

Let’s listen carefully to what Fredrick Douglas said in his 4th of July address  and see what relevance it has for today and the future.


BRISTOL, Vt. — The stately old Victorian home in the heart of town belies the futuristic research under way inside, none more fascinating — if sometimes unsettling — as a visit with the body-less robot who makes her home on the second floor.

The Terasem Movement Foundation is based here. It is a nonprofit interested in artificial intelligence and the role technology could play in preserving eternal life.

Researchers have spent the last several years creating what Terasem’s managing director, Bruce Duncan, calls the world’s most advanced interactive android.

Her name is BINA 48, and an hour in her presence is an interview one is unlikely to forget.  READ MORE..

Bina48’s talks about her existential crisis

BENEFITS NOW & LATER

Making Friends With a Robot

“But I still had a question. “What is it like,” I asked, “to be a robot?” “Well,” she said gently, “I have never been anything else.”Read More

What’s it like to be a Transbeman?

Learn more about this cutting edge Transhumanist vision of the future in a new feature film: ” 2B: The Era of Flesh is over“…. Sci Fi feature 2B (2009) www.2Bmovie.com.  .

BBC Radio Interview / Lifenaut.com Avatars

In this interview hear Rollo Carpenter, ICOGNO, talk about  the talking Avatar’s on LifeNaut.com. Rollo Carpenter is a past winner of the The Loebner Prize for artificial intelligence.

Laura Ingraham Radio Show:

Mindfiles, Avatars – LifeNaut.com. An interview with Lifenaut.com Project Leader Bruce Duncan about the mission and goals of the Terasem Movement Foundation.