Memories with Maya, by Clyde DeSouza

book review | Memories with Maya, KurzweilAI, republished by io9 as In Memories with Maya, human sexuality gets an upgrade.

What happens when you mix virtual reality, haptic interfaces, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence?

That’s what Clyde DeSouza explores in near-future science-fiction novel Memories with Maya.

He introduces the “Wizer,” an augmented-reality, see-through visor driven by AGI (artificial general intelligence) — Google Glass on steroids.

It’s coupled with 3D scans of real environments generated by wall-mounted laser cameras (think next-gen Kinect) to insert remote participants seamlessly in real environments, Holodeck-style, DeSouza explained to me.

These “dirrogates” — digital surrogates of your friends — are real-time 3D stereoscopic avatars driven by real movements and body/face language. They can visit your living room from the other side of the planet.

Wizer technology can also be used to bring back the dead, in a way.

His AI-powered dirrogates can continue to “live” in the places that were dear to the deceased, with life-like behaviors extrapolated from real memories and videos. They can go to a window to watch the sunset when the original person would have done so, or dance to the tune of the person’s favorite tracks. To a Wizer user, the deceased are really there. They even post new pictures and videos of the deceased to social networks.

Memories with Maya is a story that aims to seed ideas, grounded in hard science, on how AI, AR, and advances in the field of deep learning and cybernetic reconstruction will eventually allow us to virtually resurrect the dead, or allow us the option of substrate-independent minds,” says DeSouza.* “A time will soon come when questions will need to be answered on the ethical use of such technology and its impact on intimate human relationships and society.”

DeSouza plans to begin writing a sequel later in the year. I look forward to meeting again some of the characters of Memories with Maya… and not just those who make it to the end of the book alive.

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