The idea of this implication derives from a series on Netflix, Black Mirror. There is one episode in particular (“Be Right Back” Season 2, Episode 1) in which a woman, Martha, “brings back” her boyfriend Ash, who died in a tragic car accident. She hears of a new technology that allows those who have lost loved ones to once again speak to them over a phone call. At first she is skeptical of this program, but eventually she gives in because she misses her boyfriend so much. This technology works by simulating the dead person’s voice and personality through data gathered from that person’s social media posts, old voicemails, and other online information. However, an upgrade can be made to implant the simulated program into a synthetic body, thus creating an artificial human that can almost entirely replicate the actions of the deceased.
The development of a technology such as this could be either good or bad. On the good side of things, this could help family deal with grief (initially why Martha decided to partake). On the bad side it could also make grief prolonged and worse. Martha eventually notices that the simulation is not exactly the same as her boyfriend, however, she cannot part with it as it is still so similar to her boyfriend. She is forced to keep the android around and is constantly caused pain every time she sees it. Another problem arises as to the ethics of a company making money off of the deceased.
A number of problems could occur through the development of a technology such as this, and the scary thing is, it’s already happening.