Black Mirror: Can Bots Help Us Deal with Grief?

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If you ever had the chance to watch Black Mirror, you’d know that the premise of this Netflix original series is to showcase the wonders and dangers of Technology.

In the real world, people are experimenting with griefbotsMuhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad, principal data scientist at KenSci, is often the center of attention when the topic of griefbots comes up.

He created a chat-style program that allows him to have conversations with a simulation of his father, who passed away a few years ago.

Muhammad’s experiences bring into stark relief the pain that loss can bring, and he has publicly taken up the cause of trying to spark conversations about the benefits and dilemmas involved with creating simulations of the deceased. Read Muhammad’s reflections in “How the Dearly Departed Could Come Back to Life — Digitally” and “After Death: Big Data and the Promise of Resurrection by Proxy.”

(Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad (Sonu) chatting with a simulation of his father, Abu Jani.)

It’s hard not to be moved by the exchange between Abu Jani (which means “dear father” in Urdu) and Sonu (one of Muhammad’s nicknames). The dadbot does what dads do best: remind their kids to take care of themselves.

The question posed here is really, how far is too far? And does a griefbot truly help us cope with loss or does it hold us back from moving on?

We’ll love to hear your thoughts.

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