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Russian Programmer “Ressurects” Deceased Best Friend as an AI Chatbot

It’s hard to let go of loved ones, especially when they pass away suddenly. But thanks to rapidly evolving artificial intelligence, you soon may not have to let go. Well, not completely, anyway. Case in point, Eugenia Kuyda, the co-founder and CEO of a Russian artificial intelligence startup called Luka Inc, who recently brought her best friend back to life as an AI chatbot.

Kuyda lost her best friend, fellow tech entrepreneur Roman Mazurenko, in November 2015, but just three months after his tragic car accident, she sent the first text message to his AI personality, Roman. With no grave to visit, because he had been cremated, the young programmer, decided to use every digital memory of him, including photos, news articles and thousands of SMS text messages he had sent to her over the years, and feed them into a neural network to create an AI chatbot that many of those who knew Roman say sounds just like him.

“It was the first death for me. I didn’t know how to react, so as soon as I could I shoved everything as deep inside as possible and tried not to feel anything. Half a year later I can say that it doesn’t go away. In the last couple of months our team at Luka managed to build a dialogue model using smaller datasets on top of a neural net. I put together all texts we sent each other, photos, articles about him and we built a Roman AI,” Kuyda wrote in a Facebook post. “You can text with him about his life or just chat like you normally would – he will reply like Roman would have.”

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