File this under: Creepy Tech. South Korean company Elrois Inc. is developing a new app that lets users 3-D scan their relatives and turn them into virtual avatars so they can talk and take selfies with them when they’re away — or dead.
“With Me”, showcased this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, uses 3-D photo-realistic technology and artificial intelligence to help recreate the image and persona of a relative, friend, or even a celebrity. Users can have conversations with the avatars and tell them things such as “I love you,” and the avatar can reply with, “I love you, too.”
Avatars will also respond to certain face expressions when taking selfies and recognize emotional change. If you were to pucker up, the avatar will turn to the side and pretend to kiss you. If you were to open your mouth in disbelief, the avatar would do the same.
“Users put personal information when starting this app, the avatars remember the user from that time and recognizes if there’s some change in appearance and emotion, and mentions it, such as ‘you look younger today, what is your secret?’” Eunjin Lim, spokesperson for Elrois Inc., told Vocativ.
“With Me” is clearly morbid since it’s aim is to use a dead person as a form of entertainment, but it could also potentially help people cope with depression or anxiety when they go long periods of time (perhaps forever) without seeing a loved one’s familiar face.
Lim said the app can not only help for who have had loss in their family but also disabled or elderly people who have trouble moving. “We think the avatars can be the new way to overcome their wounded-heart with a good function of new technology. That also means it can be definitely be used for various healthcare fields,” he said.
The app is in its early stages and requires people to visit a 3-D scanning photo booth in order to create their avatar. Elrois hopes the app will be more accessible in the future, as phones include 3-D scanning technology.
“Some people told us that our app reminds them of ‘Black Mirror,’” Lim said. “However, when we think about the reason why we take a picture or video, I could say, people want to leave their memories by what we can see forever. Also, people do everything to remember some precious person to them, or try to move on.”