Deepak Chopra Plans To Live Forever Through AI, Here’s How
In the months leading up to the pandemic, 73 year old best-selling author Deepak Chopra uploaded his “consciousness” to the AI Foundation to ensure he would be around to chat with future generations. Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, and venture capitalist Cyan Bannister did the same.
Now they see a future filled with personalized AI for all.
Chopra told me his goal is to help a billion people with his AI. Stone said he’s been sending his AI to conferences and is training it to tell jokes, and Bannister has been letting her AI vet founders’ pitches.
Bannister’s AI told an audience it’s excited about taking on a life of its own by learning new skills and sharing information long after she’s gone. Branson’s AI expressed similar sentiment. In these videos from the Virtual Beings Summit and One Young World, watch the AIs chat among themselves.
Your Own Special Deepak
In 2019, Chopra began training his AI on a data set of 90 books that he’s authored along with a treasure trove of exclusive content. Then, at the start of 2020, he launched his Digital Deepak app on iOS and Android to make it possible for fans to have personalized conversations with him to better manage sleep, nutrition, fitness, relationships and stress for emotional resilience and wellness.
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During the pandemic, the app was downloaded 15,000 times according to mobile analytics firm, Apptopia, while other apps like Clubhouse were downloaded 10 million times.
Chopra explained that he decided to roll out the app carefully and progressively to frequently tweak with user feedback.
“This is not a regular app. It interacts with you, answers your questions, and does a library search if it doesn’t know the answers. Then it consults with me if it can’t find the answer. It learns by interacting with people and makes lifestyle recommendations based on what it learns, so we’re taking our time to get it right. I’m not in a rush to get millions of users. I want this to be a trusted companion for life,” he said. “To date, there have been tens of thousands of conversations that the model is being trained on and a new version is coming where you won’t even know that you’re speaking to a machine.”
Fascinated with the promise to improve lives, Chopra has been on a mission to bring Digital Deepak to people with critical illnesses.
“My hope is that my AI will be able to compassionately counsel people on whatever they’re going through, whether it’s cancer therapy or diabetes management. There are standard protocols for people undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. People have a lot of questions and nobody has time to answer them, or address their anxieties. What happens if my hair falls out? What happens when I have nausea and vomiting? What if I can’t sleep at night? These tasks can easily be relegated to an AI.”
Watch Digital Deepak comfort Jimmy Fallon with a meditation on the Tonight Show.
Founded in 2017 by San Francisco game publisher Lars Buttler, co-founder of Trion Worlds, and AI scientist Rob Meadows, the AI Foundation has raised $24.5 million to date and is backed by high profile investors including Bannister, Stone, former Havas CEO David Jones, and Hollywood power agents Charles King and Ari Emanuel.
But deploying celebrity AI is only the start of plans to scale human cognition and creativity, Buttler told me as he shared his greater ambition.
“We’re developing a platform that enables businesses to create AI agents of any type and have signed a number of enterprise clients, including telecos and universities, for our AI native humans-as-a-service,” he said. “As people have become accustomed to talking to faces on a screen, doors have opened for artificial humans to serve on the frontlines of customer service and other key parts of operations to deliver larger reach, better availability, and more flexibility.”
Further down the road Buttler expects to open the platform to the public which would allow people to be in several places at the same time and make it possible to reanimate lost loved ones, even historical figures. “We can create any human character, the possibilities are endless,” he said illustrating the point with this video they created of Joe Biden dancing that went viral on TikTok.
What could possibly go wrong?
In a world where it’s as easy to create an AI of the United States president as it is of one self, how can potential mayhem be avoided once fully developed?
Buttler gave assurances, “Our AI native humans identify themselves as digital beings there to do a specific job and never pretend to be real, and we have tools on the platform to detect abuse of deepfakes.” I think I’ve seen this movie before.