William Shatner to Be First Immortal Man Uploaded Digitally (12 Others Who Should Probably Go Ahead of Him)
William Shatner looks great for 90. The leading man and poet known for his unique style of erm, acting, rang in his ninth decade with an announcement straight out of Star Trek. Teaming up with future-tech company StoryFile, Shatner revealed he’ll be among the first humans to upload their personality onto an AI-powered system allowing future citizens of Earth (and beyond) to interact with him.
For those of you not lucky enough to meet the man at one of his many Star Trek conventions, fear not, your chance to pick the brain of former Captain James T. Kirk has arrived. According to StoryFile Co-Founder and CEO Heather Maio-Smith, your close encounter with digital Shatner will be better than stepping onto the Holodeck:
“Not an avatar, not a deep fake, but with the real William Shatner answering their questions about his life and work. This changes the trajectory of the future — of how we experience life today, and how we share those lessons and stories for generations to come.”
This begs the question, will future dating apps allow us to “date” dead famous people? (Um, totally.) The cutting-edge technology also pairs with VR/AR and 3D components to further elevate the “experience.”
It’s all possible thanks to a cloud-based AI Megamind that organizes video interviews with the subject, then uses Conversa technology to create a fleshed-out digital reproduction, pauses…and…all.
We predict that as the technology accelerates, every scrap of digital information about a person can be uploaded to layer their online persona until it’s indistinguishable from the real thing. This means not only can folks like William Shatner live forever, but you and your ex-girlfriend-who-you-dumped-for-the-new-waitress-at-Appleby’s-but-in-hindsight-was-definitely-The-One can too. Feel that? The responsibility of good life choices just got heavier.
Captain Kirk once said, “How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life.” So while Shatner is clearly a great choice to boldly go where no man has gone before, we have a few suggestions of others who should precede the man who infamously dropped the worst poetry album of all time. Check out our list below and share your suggestions with us on Twitter. Just be careful, Shatner is watching.
Cover Photo: Gabe Ginsberg (Getty Images)
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The future is looking kind of scary. That's why we need Paul Rudd in cyberspace to make us feel at home. Not to mention, watching the man open a jar of mayonnaise is entertaining.
At the risk of starting a Star Trek war, we have to question whether Captain Kirk is even the most significant character from the Starship Enterprise NCC-1701 in need of preservation (or if he's even the best captain). We'd argue Spock would make a better candidate. After all, Kirk himself once said this of the Vulcan: "Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most human."
If our digital afterlife is going to be worth a damn, it's going to need a good backbeat. James Brown had a lot of great drummers in his band, but Stubblefield was the best. There's a reason why the drum break in 'Funky Drummer' has been sampled more times than a cinnamon bite at Wetzel's Pretzels.
Who's going to crack jokes and make scathing observations about our impending digital culture? (Sit down Shatner.) Chappelle has always ridden the wave of poignancy and political incorrectness like a dolphin on steroids. The future's going to need a noble wit like him to keep things in check.
If you can create a digital persona using interviews, why not songs? John Lennon in all his layers can be found in the lines of his music. And if we hurry up, he and Paul can write a few more hits before rock and roll dies forever.
If it's possible to recreate a man through his music, the most impressive body of literary works should do the trick as well. With 37 plays and 154 sonnets to choose from, Shakespeare has left us the ultimate blueprint to his mind. But what the AI version of Romeo and Juliet will look like is anyone's guess.
Ever since her magnetic performance in Her, the AI voice of Scarlett Johannson has been floating around our heads. It's only fitting then, she's offered a seat on the maiden voyage into Forever. Although, a future malware could turn Her ScarJo into Under the Skin ScarJo. Still worth the risk.
Life in cyberspace is probably going to be hilarious AF. We need history's greatest sitcom writer to condense it all into bite-sized chunks of funny. How else will our cybernetic overlords learn to laugh?
In the near future, what will be the difference between a real person and a fictitious one? It's inevitable that we'll interact with our favorite characters, so we might as well start with Yoda. Our eternal guide's wisdom and moral groundedness will come in handy during the great digital debates to come.
The Entire 1992 Dream Team
The ballet of hoops has never been better illustrated than with this dynamic bunch of athletes. Plus, you'll need at least an eternity to even begin to hold your own against Charles Barkley. What, did you think your digital upload could escape having to exercise?
Maybe we want to preserve "45" as a warning to future civilizations of what NOT to do. Or maybe we just want to upload the entire Orange File so we can immediately drag and drop it into the trash icon of Existence. Guess who just got bumped to the front of the line?
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