By: Daniel Richardson …….
In 2012, Jessica Pereira died from rare liver disease at age 23. Since this tragic event, her fiancé, Joshua Borbeau, has been developing an AI version of his late partner by using machine-learning software. The chat website he used is called Project December.
Borbeau paid $5 to set up an account with Project December, which was one of the world’s most sophisticated consumer A.I. systems at the time. The software allows for a human-like response to text inputs. The grieving fiancé had previously used the software to create a custom bot of Star Trek’s Spock. However, he soon realised that he could give the AI information about Pereira and create a chatbot of his dead fiancée.
Borbeau input data from previous messages between him and his fiancée. He then began chatting to the bot and reminiscing about old times.
In one exchange reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Borbeau recalled the music that Jessica used to listen to. After talking about how they used to walk and bike together the machine responded, ‘I was good at walking, and I loved to walk. I really enjoyed it. Walking around the city… walking through the forest… the solitude of walking…’
Perhaps the most heartbreaking conversation, sees Borbeau write, ‘I miss you so freaking much. You have no idea. It’s killing me.’ The AI Jessica replies that she is sorry, and they say they love each other. After this, Joshua writes, ‘It’s been… eight years since you died’ and the AI responds, ‘Yes, I know… I think that’s enough time to stop telling me how you miss me, honey. I am right here, you know. 😛 How’s your life?’
Talking about the AI, Joshua said, ‘Intellectually, I know it’s not really Jessica, but your emotions are not an intellectual thing.’
After six months of sporadic conversation, the ‘battery life’ that Project December ascribes to bots was nearing an end. At this point, Borbeau spoke to the chatbot of his fiancée for the last time.