I attended a virtual conference with an AI version of Deepak Chopra. It was bizarre and transfixing

07/18/2020 - 19:55

This past week I watched doctor and wellness advocate Deepak Chopra lead a short meditation over Zoom.

"Close your eyes. Bring your awareness to your heart. And mentally ask yourself only four questions: Who am I? What do I want? What am I grateful for? What's my purpose?" Chopra said on Wednesday morning. He was speaking at a technology conference as part of a discussion, talking to fellow panelists including Twitter cofounder Biz Stone and venture capitalist Cyan Banister.

The group kept their eyes closed as Chopra continued to speak. After another moment of guided meditation, he finished up; everyone opened their eyes.

"How was that?" Chopra asked.

"It went great!" said Stone.

"Wonderful!" chimed in Banister.

"So weird!" I muttered, to myself.

I don't have anything against meditation. I was reacting to the fact that Chopra, Stone, Banister and two other people I'd been viewing via Zoom — Laura Ulloa, a peace activist, and Lars Buttler, cofounder and CEO of the AI Foundation and moderator of this panel discussion — were all digital personas created with artificial intelligence.