Death is a booming business. For one thing, it’s inevitable. For another, it brings a uniquely vulnerable and receptive market for any product that promises to numb the grief. Enter artificial intelligence. This thought-provoking and bang-up-to-the-minute documentary explores a morally questionable use of AI: the digital afterlife business, tech that recreates the personality (and in some cases speaking voice and even the likeness) of deceased individuals, designed to offer “comfort” to the bereaved. It’s the kind of technology that exists on the knife-edge between thrilling innovation and cynical recklessness. We meet a mother from South Korea who is introduced to an avatar of her daughter through a VR headset; a woman whose “chats” with her late boyfriend take on an unsettlingly demonic quality when the AI tells her that he’s “in hell” and threatens to haunt her. These posthumous AI avatars are, one interviewee says, simultaneously a precision-tooled product and also the perfect salesperson for that product. It’s hard not to watch this without a mounting sense of dread and a suspicion that a fairly significant Rubicon has been crossed.

In UK and Irish cinemas now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *