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The Creepiest Idea I’ve Heard in a While

The U.S. Department of Defense has published a research proposal “To develop a highly interactive PC or web-based application to allow family members to verbally interact with ‘virtual’ renditions of deployed Service Members.” The purpose is to let small children interact with “Mommy” or “Daddy” over a webcam, even when the real parent is deployed and unavailable. The software is supposed to have enough AI capability to have simple conversations with the child.

On the one hand, this might be comforting to children missing a deployed parent, similar in intent to the Daddy Dolls that are custom-printed with a soldier’s photograph. On the other hand, the fact that the software is intended to fool children into thinking that they’re speaking to the real parent puts this on a whole ‘nother plane of wrongness. I’m not sure I’d be comfortable knowing that Shadowboy was chatting with an AI and thinking it was me.

(via BoingBoing)

Posted in Computers & Internet January 13th, 2009 by Chip
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