The technology that allows us to speak with our deceased loved ones has arrived. Are we ready?

Script excerpts like this seemed stilted and creepy, but as we continued, with my mother reminiscing and speaking in her own words, “she” seemed much more relaxed and natural.

Yet this conversation and those that followed were limited. When I tried to ask my mom’s robot what her favorite jewelry was, for example, I got, “Sorry, I didn’t understand. You can try asking in a different way or move on to another topic.

There were also errors that were shocking to the point of fun. One day Dad’s robot asked me how I was doing. I replied, “I’m sorry today.” He responded with a “good!” cheerful and optimistic.

The overall experience was undeniably bizarre. Every time I talked to their virtual versions, I thought to myself that I could have talked to my real parents instead. On one occasion, my husband mistook my tests for bots for an actual phone call. When he realized that wasn’t the case, he rolled his eyes, scoffed and shook his head as if I was completely insane.

Earlier this year, I received a demo of similar technology from a five-year-old startup called StoryFile, which promises to take things to the next level. Its Life service records responses by video rather than voice alone.

You can choose from hundreds of questions on the topic. Then you record the person who answers the questions; this can be done on any device with a camera and microphone, including a smartphone, although the higher the quality of the recording, the better the result. After downloading the files, the company turns them into a digital version of the person you can see and talk to. It can only answer the questions it was programmed to do, just like HereAfter, just with video.

StoryFile CEO Stephen Smith demonstrated the technology in a video call where we were joined by his mother. She died earlier this year, but here she is on the phone, sitting in a comfortable chair in her living room. For a brief moment I could only see it, split through Smith’s screen. She was cute, with tousled hair and kind eyes. She gave life advice. She seemed smart.

Smith told me that his mother had “attended” his own funeral: “At the end she said, ‘I guess that’s from me… goodbye!’ and everyone burst into tears. He told me his digital participation was well received by his family and friends. And perhaps most importantly, Smith said he was deeply encouraged that he was able to film his mother , before she passed away.

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