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  • Robert Farago

AI Immortality

Include me out!

In the TV series Foundation, University-professor-turned-prophet Hari Seldon dies. Then returns as an AI copy. Then assumes human form. I know: transmogrification rights matter! But somewhere around S1 E8, I stopped caring. Emperor Day’s immortality, on the other hand…

The Emperor has my full attention. “Call me Cleon” is a sexy beast; a man who’s half-naked half the time. For good reason. Strike that. Day’s not a man as we know it. #pronouns

Day’s a corrupted clone, in both the moral and genetic sense of the word. He’s the second-most-recent clone of 18 Emperor Days (call it half a month). Or is he the latter day Day Cleon the 19th? In all this excitement, I've kinda lost track.

All of which left me wondering when the character with the sky blue contact lenses and Aussie accent would meet Cleon and say “G’day mate!” That and if it’s better to be immortal via AI or a test tube.

I’m thinking neither. Even if I could transition Seldon-style or, better yet, Gangnam-style, nope. I gotta be me.

At the risk of stating the obvious, someone or something that’s exactly like me still isn’t me. Don’t take my word for it. Ask an identical twin. Meanwhile, AI is dangling the prospect of immortality.

Dangled no more. We’re there! OnlyFans star Kaitlyn Siragusa (a.k.a., Amouranth) has partnered with AI platform Forever Voices to launch her own chatbot. Of herself.

For a buck a minute, AI Amouranth responds to customers’ salacious comments and barely legal requests. “She” can service thousands of customers while the real McCoy makes sure her estranged husband doesn’t kill her dogs.

As Paul said on the Road to Damascus, the mind boggles (paraphrasing). I mention Jesus’ disciple because Your Lord and Savior is in on the AI chatbot game, thanks to theText With Jesus app.

"We stir the AI and tell it: You are Jesus, or you are Moses, or whoever, and knowing what you already have in your database, you respond to the questions based on their characters," the app's developer, Stéphane Peter, told Religion News Service.

Chat GPT Jesus?

That’s a bit worrying. Is Text with Jesus prone to Biblical hallucinations?

Bard AI told me the 1857 Waltham pocket watch was waterproof and luminous (How The Civil War Changed Our Perception of Time) – long before such things were invented.

Will AI Jesus make up a Biblical quote where Paul commands you to join Lakewood Church?

I’m as Christian as the next Jew, but I reckon AI Jesus falls somewhere between sacrilegious, blasphemous and satanic. I’d ask Satan for his take, but I don’t want to pay the extra $2.99 a month.

At the same time, God or Apple (same thing for some) has blocked the Text with Jesus download (my macOS is up-to-date). Or the whole thing’s a joke.

No matter. Unless Destiny-Dialing-for-Dollars Indiana Jones can secure some of Jesus’ genetic material, we can’t compare AI Jesus to clone Jesus.

That said, if we can use our imagination to manifest a purple dinosaur (Barney the Dinosaur Vs. NovelAI), we can consider clone Jesus.

Assuming He arrived after Dolly the Sheep’s 1996 debut (me of little faith), clone Jesus would be molded by the temper of the times. Chances are he’d have spent his formative years playing Grand Theft Auto. And suffer from GenZ’s overarching apathy.

Even if clone Jesus was raised on Bible Crush and had a Mormon missionary’s taste for adventure, here be dragons. As Doug Kenny warned us in Multiplicity, “When you make a copy of a copy, it's not as sharp as the original.”

Unlike the son of He Who Works in Mysterious Ways, your shot at immortality through cloning is a complete non-starter.

The legislative odyssey known as the Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2001 makes it illegal to clone a human stateside, or import or export a cloned human. Any research involving human cloning must be approved by the National Institutes of Health.

'The NIH may be batshit crazy (if Wu know what I mean), but there’s no way around it: AI is your only chance at achieving immortality. Just feed a large language model all your memories and personality and ba-bam! Say hello to your digital friend!

Moore’s Law or not, full-on human AI replication is a ways off. Initially, it will be even more hellaciously expensive than space tourism. (AI-enhanced space Virgin Richard Branson above.)

The first people to fully digitize themselves will be wealthy shill seekers. Their inevitable bid for AI immorality presents us with an important philosophical question: who gives a shit?

Sure, AI You would save fleshy you from having to write AI prompts and other tedious tasks. AI You would pay your taxes (watch out for embezzlement) and find you a mate (‘bro’s before ‘ho’s is not a prime directive).

But eventually, inevitably, you’ll die. And then… AI immortality! Yes, well, unless I missed something in Hebrew school (other than Hebrew school), you’ll be beyond caring.

What about leaving an interactive digital legacy for your children? To guide your progeny and your progeny’s progeny’s progeny through life from beyond the grave.

Woody Allen’s movie New York Stories showed us the joys of having a parent hang around after death. No thanks.

AI is already blurring the line between real reality and artificial reality (This Woman Does Not Exist. Or Does She?). Making an AI clone of yourself would only complicate your life; morally, legally and practically.

Besides, leaving an AI-animated copy of yourself behind denies those who loved you the grieving process that makes them human. But what do I know?

I know that what I know dies with me, except, perhaps, in the hearts and minds of those who knew me. Or my writing. I’m good with that. You?

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