Using AI to Chat to The Dead

Vincent van Goth wants to talk to you

There's a joke I’ve heard for most of my life about how you can talk to the dead - you just shouldn’t expect them to talk back. In our very first story, we covered how a man tried and succeeded in creating a chatbot that had all the memories and mannerisms. Since then, there has been a massive spike in the type of chatbots used for different purposes. 

Some celebrities have sold their likeness to chatbots. You can have ChatGPT rewrite your essay in Hemingway's style. Well, now, if you go to the Musee d’ Orsay in Paris - you will get a chance to talk to one of my favourite artists - Vincent van Goth.

Although van Goth died in 1890, you can still catch up and chat with him at the end of the Vincent van Goth exhibit. The digital recreation captures his likeness to a tee. The famous blue eyes. The missing ear. The only thing it didn’t recreate is the smell of alcohol he was also known for. 

Even his mannerisms and outlook on life are captured through training the AI with letters written by the artist. This means that at the end of the exhibition, and you ask him a question, the AI will answer it as close as van Goth would have. You can ask Vincent almost anything and get a response. Some have criticized it for not always giving the most accurate or in-depth answers, but that hasn’t stopped people from coming to talk to him. 

And because of the nature of the artist in the box, people ask the most morbid of questions - “Why did you kill yourself?” The bot will answer in 1 of two ways. Firstly, Vincent will either brush aside the topic and preach a message of hope and the need to find beauty in the world. The other response is a tad more realistic - claiming it was the only way he thought he would find peace. 

The exhibit focusing on the last few months of van Goth’s life will end on February 4th, but that's no reason to fear. The company responsible for the chatbot known as “Bonjour Vincent” said it planned to release it on Amazon’s Alexa by the end of the year. So before you know it, you can have the artist in your house waking you up for work. 

We’ve seen AI touch every aspect of life and change it. This isn’t a value judgment - it's too early to say if it's for the better or has made things worse. But this is one of the few AI projects in the art sphere that isn’t about AI’s ability to copy artists' work - but is designed to give us a deeper appreciation of the work of a true master.

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