Consumers are also making their opinions known. The company Base Hologram, which has produced hologram shows of Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly and Maria Callas, reversed plans to put likenesses of both Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse on tour, after they were criticized as exploitative. Just because producing such performances is legal doesn’t mean audiences will accept them as ethical.
You Could Always Make Your Own A.I. …
Currently, United States federal law does not recognize the dead’s right to privacy, said Albert Gidari, a lawyer and former consulting director of privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society.
“But,” he said, “as a practical matter, because so much of the information about you is in digital form today, residing with platform providers, social media and so on, the Stored Communications Act actually does protect that information against disclosure without prior consent.”
“And obviously, if you’re dead, you can’t consent,” Mr. Gidari added. A consequence is that families of dead individuals often cannot recover online data from their loved ones’ digital accounts.
As a way of asserting agency over their digital legacies, some people are choosing to create their own A.I. selves using a growing number of apps and services.
Some, like HereAfter, are focused on family history. For $125 to $625, the company interviews clients about critical moments in their lives. Those answers are used to create a Siri-like chat bot. If your great-grandchildren, for instance, wanted to learn how you met your spouse, they could ask the bot and it would answer in your voice.