Death is a scary thought for most, so much so that billionaires like Jeff Bezos are desperately searching for ways to stop it. The quest for immortality is one as old as time, despite being impossible. However, Czech-based VR company Somnium have come up with an option: digital immortality.
Live Forever in the Somnium Metaverse
Via Vice, the creators of the Somnium Metaverse VR platform are working on ways to digitally immortalise players in the service. The in-development aims to digitally recreate players in a realistic manner so that they may survive years after their deaths.
The Live Forever feature works by collecting a massive amount of data on individual players. Somnium hopes to record the way players move and interact with the world to advise individual replication. Furthermore, the company hopes to record conversations so that players can talk to a dead avatar.
“Literally, if I die—and I have this data collected—people can come or my kids, they can come in, and they can have a conversation with my avatar, with my movements, with my voice,” said Artur Sychov. “You will meet the person. And you would maybe for the first 10 minutes while talking to that person, you would not know that it's actually AI. That’s the goal.”
The immortality initiative will start this year. However, in its early form the technology will only be used to record movements and sounds. Afterwards, Sychov wants the tech to expand and create massive datasets to identify people “more precisely than fingerprints”.
Somnium CEO Artur Sychov explained that his version of The Metaverse is different to Facebook parent company Meta’s. While Meta is aiming to make massive commissions off user generated content and pushing adverts based on heart rates, Sychov isn't interested in that.
.“They think that it's about selling NFTs and brands selling their stuff, but it's not about that,” Sychov said to Vice. “It's much deeper [than that]. That's why Facebook is so scary. It's scary to have Facebook as the leading metaverse.”
Sychov explains that Somnium doesn't care about knowing “who you are”, which would be the complete opposite of Facebook’s agenda. However, the entire point of Live Forever comes out of knowing exactly who a person is, even better than they know themselves.
Live Forever is planned do be a paid feature in Sychov’s metaverse. Those who don't pay for the service won't have it, and those who decide to back out will have their data deleted if they choose. Of course, that's a good sentiment to have, but in a world where companies are constantly collecting and sharing data without users’ knowledge, users only have Sychov’s word. Is that enough?