Eterni.me lets you Skype with the dead

Startup Eterni.me wants you to live forever in the form of a virtual avatar that can video-chat with your loved ones after you're gone.

Michelle Starr Science editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr
2 min read

Do you want to live forever? Well, perhaps you can. Not literally, of course, but as an online presence that can comfort your loved ones after your death.

Eterni.me, a startup fresh out of MIT's Entrepreneurship Development Program, claims to have developed a means by which your personality can be digitally reconstructed after your death.

Although details on the Eterni.me Web site are thin, the service works by assembling a portrait based on your online activities. You provide the team with chat logs, social-network information, photos, and e-mails, and it uses this information to reconstruct your memories and mannerisms.

"Eterni.me collects almost everything that you create during your lifetime, and processes this huge amount of information using complex Artificial Intelligence algorithms," the Web site reads. "Then it generates a virtual YOU, an avatar that emulates your personality and can interact with, and offer information and advice to, your family and friends after you pass away. It's like a Skype chat from the past."

There's not much more information available, aside from a bunch of headshots of the team of designers, engineers, and business people. However, interested parties can enter their e-mail address to receive updates about the launch, which is "soon." "We'll be accepting new users gradually," the page reads. The site received 1,300 e-mail registrations in less than 24 hours, Marius Ursache, the startup's chief executive, told Boston.com.

While the idea is sure to strike some as creepy, it's definitely an intriguing model for those who wanted tangible connections to their deceased loved ones -- if it works as promised. But the team had better make sure security is locked down. We can't imagine it would be particularly pleasant receiving "performance enhancement" spam from a beloved grandma.

(Source: Crave Australia via Kotaku)