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Now the dead are returning to China.

Now the dead are returning to China.

Grieving Chinese are spending up to NOK 15,000 to create AI-powered avatars of dead people they have lost. The AI ​​race between the United States and China continues on many fronts.

The short version

“I know how hard it is for you,” the 22-year-old says in the video to his parents.

– Every day, every moment I wish to be with you to give you comfort and strength, he continues.

The father watches the recording while sitting at his son's grave. It has been several years since the 22-year-old's death. Now the father finds some kind of relief in being able to hear his voice again – with the help of artificial technology.

Son Wu Xuanmu died of a stroke while living abroad. Over the past year, the father has spent several thousand kroner and countless hours creating a digital version of his son. He “fed” the system with old photos, messages and videos to create a type of chatbot that could pose as the 22-year-old.

The result is an avatar that parents can “talk to” online.

– Huge request

-I can train him. The father told the news agency that this way he knows that I am his father when he sees me France Press agency.

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He is one of several pioneers who have developed such solutions in China in the past year, after advances in artificial intelligence have made creating such avatars much easier than before.

Many Chinese people started to...

Several companies already sell such services to people who have lost someone they love, including Super Brain in Jiangsu Province, China. It was founded in May last year, and has already manufactured 600 such copies, according to its founder Zhang Ziwei.

– The demand is huge, he tells the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Newspaper.

He says the price of an AI avatar of a deceased person ranges between 7,000 and 15,000 Norwegian kroner.

– Maintains ties with the deceased

The dream of reviving lost people is perhaps as old as humanity itself. There are many examples in literature. In Greek mythology, Orpheus tried to resurrect his wife Eurydice from the dead. Stephen King thriller Animal Cemetery It touches on the same topic – with unfortunate consequences for everyone involved.

And the dystopian Netflix series Black mirror It contains an episode dealing with digital clones produced using artificial intelligence. In the episode I'll come back A pregnant woman mourns her lover who was killed in a car accident. She requested a service that would allow her to chat with a digital clone created using all of her boyfriend's digital traces. Eventually, a robotic version of her boyfriend shows up at her house.

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Chinese AI avatars are far from the final product of the Netflix series. But digital copies have come so far that they can provide some comfort to grieving parents, children and friends.

The emergence of such AI-powered programs reflects our natural desire to maintain relationships with those who have died, psychology professor Tang Suqin at Shenzhen University tells Sixth Tone.

In Chinese culture, it is important to show respect to deceased relatives.  The annual Qingming Festival, held this year on April 4, is a particularly important memorial day to honor the dead.

On Chinese websites, the debate has already been going on for some time. Many raise the ethical dilemmas of such AI avatars. Among the questions: Who has the right to create such digital copies of deceased people? Could that make grief harder?

Tang says that true grief only begins when you deal with death and realize that life has changed.

The race between the United States and China

These avatars are just a small part of the huge number of new products that have arrived since ChatGPT launched in the fall of 2022. Companies and countries are now competing for markets and power.

The center of this competition are the United States and China. The authorities in Beijing aim to become the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. In the United States, many fear that this will affect the global balance of power in favor of the Chinese.

This fear is one of the reasons why the United States is betting so heavily on the development of advanced microchips. In October, President Biden imposed strict restrictions on the export of US technology to China.

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– American leadership in the world depends on American leadership in artificial intelligence, says Arati Prabhakar Financial Times.

She heads the Office of Science and Technology at the White House.

There is a lot at stake

Competition between the two superpowers continues in several areas. The United States fears that China will use artificial intelligence to spread disinformation that could affect the presidential elections.

Both countries are developing highly advanced weapons systems that can be operated by artificial intelligence. The country that wins the race also wins a lot of power.

One Recent report From the Special Competitive Studies Project, a panel of experts led by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, concluded that a great deal is at stake.

– It's not about fear of not being the dominant power in the world. It's about the danger of living in a world in which the Chinese Communist Party becomes the dominant power, the report's authors write.