More than half of the population considers digital cloning of a deceased person acceptable, as long as they gave their consent before dying, although the same percentage of respondents oppose being cloned after their death. New research keeps the controversy alive.


  • Can AI catch up and surpass human intelligence in 2024?

  • For the first time, AI makes medicines without human intervention

A study published in the journal Science analyzes how the consent or disagreement of a deceased person influences the social acceptability of their digital resurrection.

Digital resurrection involves creating a digital clone of a deceased person from their personal information, both digital and non-digital, using virtual reality, artificial intelligence and voice technology.

This clone can interact with users through an app or smart device, simulating the personality and language of the original person.

Survey on the resurrection

To understand people’s attitudes toward what is already a technological reality, the researchers conducted an experiment with a sample of American citizens, who were presented with different digital resurrection scenarios, varying the degree of consent of the deceased person.

The results showed that consent has a significant effect on the social acceptability of digital resurrection, with a difference of 2 points on a scale of 5.

When the deceased had given consent, 58% of respondents considered digital resurrection to be socially acceptable, while this percentage was only 3% when the deceased had objected.

These findings suggest that relevant legal regulations should respect the decision of the deceased person, the study authors note.

Prior consent

The study also explored the optimal default rule, using observational research: 59% of respondents were against the idea of ​​their own digital resurrection.

He also showed that a rule of opt-inseems socially desirable, according to respondents. A rule of opt-in It means that the person has to give explicit permission for something to be done with their information or data. In this case, it involves creating a digital clone of the deceased person. If the person does not give permission, it is assumed that he does not want it to be done.

This rule seems socially desirable because it respects the will of the deceased person and prevents a digital clone from being created without their consent. In addition, it avoids possible conflicts or legal problems between the relatives or heirs of the deceased person and the company that offers the digital resurrection service.

It must also be assumed that the deceased person does not want a digital clone of them to be created, unless they have said otherwise. This implies that the company that offers the digital resurrection service has to verify that the deceased person gave their express consent before creating the digital clone.

Express consent is a clear and direct statement from the deceased person, saying that they want a digital clone of them to be created. It can be verbal, written, or through some other means that records her decision. Express consent cannot be inferred from other actions or statements of the deceased person that are not related to the digital resurrection.

In 2020, virtual reality enabled a South Korean mother to share a virtual experience with her six-year-old daughter who had died from an incurable disease.

We are prepared?

Although digital resurrection is technologically possible, the mere idea raises a series of questions asked by experts in psychology, philosophy and technology, who see both benefits and risks in this innovation.

Is it healthy to talk to an artificial version of someone who is no longer there? What if the avatar says or does something that the real person would never do? Who has the right to create and access these digital clones? What consequences can this practice have for society and culture?

Some experts argue that it can facilitate the grieving process by providing a way to maintain connection and communication with the deceased. Others warn that it can interfere with acceptance of loss by creating an illusion of presence and continuity.

Also, keep in mind that digital avatars are not exact copies of real people, but are based on algorithms and limited data. Therefore, they may make mistakes, omit information, or raise false expectations. They can also be subject to manipulation, exploitation or abuse, if the privacy and consent of those involved are not respected.