Figures throughout history have recognized that their writings and art would serve as perpetuations of their intellect. But they never expected that these data points would be used to seed entirely new beings that would act as their immortal cognitive proxies. Ideally, we will continue to view AI representations of real people as imperfect impersonators, but as the models become more advanced it will become harder to remind ourselves that they are not entirely faithful representations of real people. Each of us is well aware that our own digital DNA is not fully representative of who we are, but the limits of human psychology mean that it’s difficult for us to apply this same open-mindedness when considering AI likenesses of others. Is it fair that my opinion of Steve Jobs might be influenced not just by things he said, but also by things a lifelike AI trained on his digital DNA says? When generative models become indistinguishable from real people, will we care whether quotes from GPT-Ghandi are actual statements made from the man himself or something the model decided he might have said? “They say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time.” (— Numerous sources) This quote reminds us that one day, we will be forgotten. But perhaps a greater concern is that we might be misremembered.
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