Somnium Space is developing a way for people to talk to their loved ones even after they die. All it requires is massive amounts of personal data.
Almost five years ago, Artur Sychov’s father was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, which would ultimately kill him within a few years. The news of his father’s illness devastated Sychov. “It kind of hit me that the time I had with him was limited,” he told me last week. At the time, Sychov’s children were just a few years old, and it pained him to think that they might grow up without a memory of their grandfather.
In those moments, he started to wonder if there was some way in which his children might be able to have a conversation with their grandfather, even after he was gone.
Sychov is the CEO and founder of Somnium Space, one of the many versions of the metaverse that have sprouted up in recent years. Unlike many of its competitors, Somnium Space is already compatible with virtual reality headsets, allowing for an immersive 3D experience.
The death of Sychov’s father served as the inspiration for an idea that he would come to call “Live Forever” mode, a forthcoming feature in Somnium Space that allows people to have their movements and conversations stored as data, then duplicated as an avatar that moves, talks, and sounds just like you—and can continue to do so long after you have died. In Sychov’s dream, people will be able to talk to their dead loved one whenever they wish.