Digital Dopplgangers « Catholic Insight

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, How They Met Themselves, watercolor, 1864 domain

Here we go, with another ‘leap’ in the A.I. revolution, with digital copies being made of products, factories, towns, villages, animals and, ambitiously, of ourselves, our organs, even the entire universe:

A Digital Twin Might Just Save Your Life

I’m not sure about digital dopplegangers ‘saving my life’, but it is disconcerting to have a replica of all and sundry in a computer-simulated world. After all, art imitates life, but life also imitates art – and artificial intelligence. If they – it – knows what you have done, and are doing, it also knows what you might do, or are likely to do. And it can prompt you in that direction, in subtle and insidious ways, which algorithms on YouTube and other platforms already do. They know what presses your buttons, and what buttons you will press.

It’s also a bit creepy that the current super-computer making models of these ‘digital twins’ is housed in what was a beautiful Catholic chapel, which, as an effect of Spain’s loss of the Faith, was left unused and eventually deconsecrated. Maybe it would have been left to rack and ruin, but its nave now filled with a gleaming, glowing digital mind, humming away, its arterial-like cables throbbing with quasi-life. Deus ex machina becomes Deus est machina.

But life A.I. is not, nor is it real. Perhaps there are benefits to digital hearts and lungs and persons – I’m intrigued by digital animal, drug and surgical trials – but, as the article itself warns, we should beware of the liabilities and dangers, before life becomes art, and we cross the point of no return, if we’ve not already done so.

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