Chapter 12 looks at the concept of digital immortality, and the significant impact that virtual humans could have on it. From the moment someone creates even a simple chatbot based on a real person then you have a form of digital immortality - as long as someone keeps paying the hosting bills! The digital traces that we all create everyday are grist to the mill for the creation of such virtual personas (as seen in Zoe from Caprica - see VH and SF), but what happens if we make these personas active, with their own goals, interests and resources so that they can continue their progenitor's "life" indefinitely. And what is the impact on everyone who has been left behind - and how does it effect the concept of grief?
We'll post additional analysis here, links to "digital immortality" systems, and blog about interesting papers and the emerging start-ups that aim to support such digital immortality.