Could AI be a Tool For Grieving Families in the Future?

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Thursday, September 7, 2023

There is a lot of buzz around AI these days. And while the tools of artificial intelligence are still in their infancy, there is a lot of talk about its use in a variety of industries. AI could potentially provide comfort to those in mourning. Below, we will discuss some of the ways that researchers are looking into providing grieving families comfort through the power of AI. 

Recreating Voice and Images

Even in its rudimentary form, many users of AI programs have been able to recreate voices and videos of celebrities, characters from cartoons, and more. While this is easier than an average individual because there is more available content from these individuals, something like this can provide an avenue for individual use in the future. Some individuals have tried using voice and video from relatives to get chatbots to speak in the voice of loved ones. Recordings of a person’s face, voice, and mannerisms could be used to potentially recreate an AI facsimile of them in the future. Some people have said this can be cathartic. You could be able to have a conversation with an AI generation of a loved one and hear it respond in their voice.

Grief and Acceptance of Loss with AI

Whether you subscribe to the 5-stage model of grief or not, coming to terms with the loss of your loved one is an important part of grief. But, if you can talk with an AI avatar of the deceased at any time, you may not fully accept that they are no longer with you. Accepting that your loved one has passed away is an important part of moving on and continuing to live your life. 

The Ethics of AI and Consent

As with much of the discussion around artificial intelligence, ethics are a major concern in the grief process as well. Arguments could be made about fair use, but outside of the legal arguments, it is definitely an ethical question as well. Using a person’s likeness without their consent is a huge aspect of the AI conversation right now. Your deceased loved one can’t consent to their likeness being used by an AI website.
Even if your loved one agreed to and recorded videos before their death for this purpose, the usage of this content may be questionable. If you upload a video of your loved one, their likeness could be used in other ways by AI. If someone makes a video promoting their business or even a movie project, your loved one’s likeness could theoretically be a part of it. 

The author of this post is not a professional therapist or counselor. For assistance in finding a grief counselor that is right for you, there are several resources out there. For our Grief Resource Center, written by Dr. Bill Webster, click here
For over 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.

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