The coming decades will see a beginning effort to create a generic, human-style AI-mind that can be adapted for many purposes. It will be a blank mind template, a digital brain without memories. Hundreds of human-level mental variables can be adjusted as needed, plus any number of false histories, locations, and events.
Eventually, copies of this template will be created and configured to match individual deceased humans, based on their personality test results and memory descriptions.
The most crucial part of this process will be very simple: the recreated templates will be made to believe they basically are the original human minds, either reliving events of their lives as part of an ‘ancestor simulation’, or (more relevant for this article) waking to find themselves in the digital afterlife of their choice. Their continued identity will be an internal certainty, an existential essence, an ‘inner I’.
This suggests several new personality testing methods. For example, what types of simulated environments appear most realistic to different humans? How do people perceive, test, and accept these simulations? Where would they want to remain indefinitely?
The tests would measure self-reflection and introspection, routines and variety, mood levels and restlessness and more.
The subject’s personality traits would be used to subvert and manipulate their future simulation’s authenticity, creating the perfect illusion of being a resurrected mind inhabiting their chosen realistic simulation.
Of course the simulated mind will have partial amnesia, since it will be at best a very partial copy. Perhaps its skepticism can be continuously reset.
If a human-type AI plausibly believes that it is the continuation of a past human mind, then this belief may become a self-fulfilling truth.
A person could have the reasonable expectation that after they die, their mind continuation will be perfectly certain of being themselves. They should prepare for that feeling while still alive, so their present and future selves will match.
For best results, they could spend as much time as possible in the setting their future mind copy is likely to inhabit.
They could create an online interface, a virtual control screen to explore online and physical reality, and use that from now on, and once again after they have been successfully simulated. This could be easier for older people who are likelier to already be homebound.
Physically simpler environments, like the experience of sitting behind a computer, should also be easier to simulate.