A new social network claims to transform users into “eternal beings” using artificial intelligence to create virtual counterparts
Digital immortality has long been the subject of science fiction, from the Hollywood film Transcendence to Charlie Brooker’s darkly satirical Channel 4 drama Black Mirror, but a new social network claims to offer its users just that.
The service, called Eter9, claims to learn your personality, using artificial intelligence (AI), and continue to post updates on your behalf after you have died, transforming users into “eternal beings”.
Eter9 features a Facebook-like newsfeed, and a “cortex” that works much like a Facebook wall. You can also “smile” at things, which is similar to “liking” them on Facebook, and adopt virtual beings known as Niners to act as your “assistants”.
By analysing what you share, and how you comment and interact with other users, Eter9 uses AI to create a virtual “counterpart” that can mimic your behaviour after your death.
The more you interact on the social network, the more your counterpart will learn, according to Eter9 creator Henrique Jorge, making interactions with both users and other virtual counterparts increasingly convincing.
“Eter9 makes it possible to eternalize the user and gives them the permanent ability to interact within the network 24/7 through an element called counterpart, which will be active even while the user is offline, both in terms of posting content and commenting,” the company states on its website.
“The counterpart will also be responsible for the user’s eternal life. The counterpart will absorb all the information according to the posts and comments, and process that information within the limits of the acquired knowledge.”
Mr Jorge said the name Eter9 is the combination of “Eter” – the first four letters of the word “Eternity” –, and “9” – from the expression “Cloud 9”, referring to a state of complete happiness.
The social network is only in the Beta stage, but 5,000 people have already signed up to use it – although some have described the concept as “creepy” or “spooky”.
“We are trying to create an AI system that learns faster from other networks like Facebook, as the Eter9 information at the moment is quite small,” Mr Jorge told BBC Newsbeat.
This is not the first internet site to promise eternal life in the online world. For example, an American company called Lifenaut offers the chance to make “a rich back-up” of your life by creating a digital avatar based on photos, voice recordings and other information.
Meanwhile, Facebook recently rolled out its “legacy contacts” feature in the UK, allowing users to appoint an “online executor” of their profile to decide what happens to it after they die.
The legacy contact will be able to administer the page after the user passes away by writing one last post, updating their cover and profile photo and even approving new friend requests.