To lose someone close – there is nothing that what it means can be even compared to. There are no words to describe it. The feeling is – like – it’s not even that it’s impossible to describe: it is impossible to comprehend. To even talk about it seems like too much. It’s breaking the taboo. And there is a reason – it’s obvious there is.
To come to terms with such a loss takes time – a lot of. A lot. But then, what if we could bring our beloved back to life? Some kind of life, at least? Would we do it? Would we want to?
“Yes, just like in Black Mirror“
The startup’s name’s Luka. Their main product – a chat bot. Its main purpose – to be a restaurant guide. Quite a useful thing, that’s right
But what does it have to do with our dead?
Well. According to the startup’s newest advertising material,
“A woman rebuilt her dead best friend using artificial intelligence
Yes, just like in ‘Black Mirror’
Eugenia Kuyda is the co-founder of A.I. startup ‘Luka’
Her company developed a messaging app for interacting with bots
After Roman Mazurenko’s sudden death
She used her resources to try talking to her best friend again
And Kuyda might have succeeded
After compiling & processing over 8,000 lines of text messages Mazurenko sent
She debuted the digital version of her friend through the app
Some people who knew Mazurenko say it sounds eerily like him
Other call the bot an abomination and refuse to interact with it
Kuyda has seen the ‘Be Right Back’ episode and admits she has the same concerns
But she decided to follow the inevitable path to the future”
Well (again.) It is bad writing, this one. It is. The advertisement – it’s as much as what it is at this point. Is there more to it, though? Is there a thing – at least some thing – of actual value to it there for someone who is in real mourning? Is it more than just a bait?
The trailer depicts a teenager (or an apparent teenager) girl chatting with a bot on her smartphone in what appears to be her room. The colors are dimmed, the music is grim. The girl is – she seems to be – anxious (if not scared.) The scene is cliché. There is some bad acting.
The music is grim.
“Hi Martha,” the bot begins. “Is that You?” she asks. Then, there’s a moment of sudden (but not so sudden at all) suspense. The bot – it is composing its message, it seems. “No,” it answers. “No, it’s the Abraham Lincoln.” A sudden touch of humor. A comic relief.
The grim music.
What happens next is that the girl is walking some of these long and dark corridors. She is looking at her phone, she is dropping it to pick it up a while after. She’s so scared. There’s more bad acting. Then, all of a sudden, we can see her standing next to some kind of ice-filled container. There’s a lot of ice inside. One could stock his beer there, too, but there’s some foiled meat instead, which she’s touching. Almost like it was her friend. There’s grim music. It is grim. It’s intended to be touching.
It is another comic relief, though, I presume, because that’s what it is.
It’s bad taste, too, I’m afraid. There’s some more of this grim music. All in all, it fits, I guess.
I can’t help but take it that the “getting lost in long and dark corridors” part and “touching foiled meat” part is a reference to the restaurant guide there. One can’t be sure, though.
Guess I will not bother asking.
“No, it’s the Abraham Lincoln”
I did like Black Mirror. It’s also bad writing. Despite this, I liked it.
I did like Pet Semataries (here – in plural, for I liked the novel and the film, the former a little bit more than the latter, the latter a lot nonetheless.) The writing(s) was (were) good (I am Stephen King’s fan, though, so I’m not disinterested – but then, in fact, it was decent at least.) So – summing up – I liked them a lot.
There’s a lot on this in fiction. The theme is classic. It’s older than Shakespeare. It is ancient.
Perhaps because it’s a universal thing, to mourn our dead, to mourn them and miss them.
No wonder – then – that there’s a certain taboo surrounding it in both the Eastern and Western cultures. And somehow, though people tried to break it, it still functions well, it does.
Works of art, both “high” and “popular,” have often provoked us to engage in a philosophical debate on the matters of death and resurrection, and whether or not it would be ethical to bring back our dead. There’s a lot to talk about, that’s true. Some attempts at provocation are tasteless, though, and not worth to follow. This one is such an attempt.
Instead of wondering, then, if it’s ethical, if it’s proper, if it’s him or not, or “the Abraham Lincoln,” perhaps, let me disseminate this bad writing for You – so that You won’t have to.
The following dissemination is a brutal one indeed. But then, such is the provocation at hand.
So. Line after line.
“A woman rebuilt her dead best friend using artificial intelligence”
A bold statement. There’s no such thing as the artificial intelligence as of now. Furthermore, is a best friend something we could “rebuild?” Oh – and it’s good to know that it’s a woman. Does it make it more of an achievement? It’s not even about the political correctness (the political incorrectness of this line is outrageous, though.) It’s just mean.
“Yes, just like in ‘Black Mirror’”
Just like that.
“Eugenia Kuyda is the co-founder of A.I. startup ‘Luka’”
Once again, A.I. is quite a lot here, quite too much.
Her company developed a messaging app for interacting with bots”
Now they’re bringing back dead friends.
“After Roman Mazurenko’s sudden death
She used her resources to try talking to her best friend again
And Kuyda might have succeeded”
So. Did she “rebuilt her dead friend” “just like in ‘Black Mirror’” or did she do what’s stated here, “used her resources to try talking [to him] again?” Also, notice the part about “resources.” A vague word. An evocative one. Suggests a lot. There’s not that much behind it in this case, though, I presume, because what follows is, in fact:
“After compiling & processing over 8,000 lines of text messages Mazurenko sent
She debuted the digital version of her friend through the app”
The digital friends’ characters are now made of 8,000 lines of compiled & processed text messages.
Just like in Black Mirror. Yes.
“Some people who knew Mazurenko say it sounds eerily like him
Other call the bot an abomination and refuse to interact with it”
A failed attempt at provoking an ethical debate that has happened a million times before and will happen a million times again (to the same apparent results – or lack thereof.) Let’s go academic now.
“Kuyda has seen the ‘Be Right Back’ episode and admits she has the same concerns”
Good to know it’s still popular. I’d recommend some Shakespeare, too.
“But she decided to follow the inevitable path to the future”
The good news is that no path to the future is inevitable. The bad one is that some seem to be.
What she decided to follow is a path to controversial and tasteless advertising.
The path to disaster
Don’t get me wrong here. I have no idea whatsoever of Eugenia Kuyda’s life nor motivations for what she’s doing. To make a bot resemble one’s dead friend is no crime, though. I’d let You convince me that it’s almost like a tribute to someone: a memento: a token of gratitude of sorts. I could convince You.
The problem is that Eugenia Kuyda’s allowed someone to use her personal life as an example in such a bad, tasteless advertisement. Which is not – nor should it be – “the inevitable path to the future.” It’s a distasteful path to marketing disaster.
The disaster is inbound.