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In Memoriam

RomanEugenia Kuyda lost her close friend Roman Mazurenko to a hit and run driver in Moscow four years ago. A programmer, she had been working on software to create ‘chatbots’ - artificial intelligence programs that can provide a limited communication with a user.

Eugenia missed her friend, and realised that she could feed her program every text message Roman had ever sent her. The bot would then share Roman’s turn of phrase, his tone and humour, and provide an echo of his voice. The experiment worked, and brought her some comfort.

Subsequently, as people heard about what she had done, Kuyda converted her program to allow anyone to feed their own data in and create their own bot. In the years since, millions of people have taken up the opportunity.

Interviewed by Forbes magazine, Kuyda said, “We spend so many hours glued to our screens that we forget to talk to each other. People are scared of making phone calls. The new generation will text because you can edit what you say. Lots of people are afraid of vulnerability.”

“Honestly, we’re in the age where it doesn’t matter whether a thing is alive or not.”

Oh, but it does. It does.

“This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labour and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, and especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:9-10)

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