TechXplore reports that researchers are investigating the use of machine learning algorithms to create digital representations of the deceased. The study focused on an existing service called Replika, which is designed to create chatbots that mimic the personalities of the people they're chatting with. The basic idea is to organize a deceased person's history from social media platforms, messaging services, accounts, and other sources, and feed it to Replika's AI. However, the researchers also explored the possibility of creating robotic avatars based on this data. Unfortunately, the original study appears to have been yanked from the web, and I can't find an archived copy of it, but TechXplore's article and the Replika AI site are still up. "We got the basic idea for our study from Eugenia Kuyda, the founder of Replika AI," Devadiga told TechXplore. "Replika's basic purpose is to create a personal AI that can help people to express themselves through helpful conversations. Someday, you will die, leaving behind a lifetime of text messages, posts, and other digital ephemera. For a while, your friends and family may put these digital traces out of their minds, but then later feel out of place because they miss the loved ones. So our main objective was to explore ways of relieving the pain of this loss, at least bitwise."