May 13, 2024

SCREEN | Digitizing the Afterlife – 'Eternal You' x DOXA 2024

"It's able to hijack the things that we love the most."
Hans Block Moritz Riesewieck | Eternal You | DOXA 2024
DOXA Documentary Film Festival
Directors Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck delve into the deeply troubling world of a "digital afterlife" created by artificial intelligence to extend the lives of deceased loved ones in Eternal You. This very real technology allows startups to effectively digitize those who have passed away by generating simulated versions of them in order to comfort grieving survivors.

This morally questionable use of A.I. likenesses effectively ensures a sort of virtual immortality by producing uncanny facsimiles that allow anyone to interact with those they have lost. Competitors are already looking to corner the market on this unsettling innovation as they squarely target the mourning, all while the inventors largely absolve themselves of any moral responsibility for the profoundly complicated psychological consequences of these kinds of unregulated and experimental technologies.

Block and Rieswieck manage to broadly encapsulate the potentially horrifying drawbacks of this advanced tech by comparing it to what organized religion traditionally once offered us in their promise to find meaning in our lives beyond the physical realm into a form of collective celestial immortality, possibly being reborn in another lifeform, or rejoining loved ones after actual death. Eternal You provide an engaging look into the ramifications of our sci-fi present. It also further raises concerns about our collective inability to let go and move on or an extreme reluctance to.

Eternal You screens at the 2024 DOXA Documentary Film Festival as part of the Justice Forum program.

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