Immortality: the final frontier. These are the voyages of William Shatner. His 90-year mission: To explore strange new ways of shitposting. To seek out new life and new alt-right dipshits. To boldly perform covers of The Cramps in ways no one has covered them before. And now, thanks to the disastrous results of scientific advancement, he can do this in perpetuity. Welcome to infinite troll.
At least, that’s the story that’s come out on the 90th anniversary of Shatner’s birth, in which the Star Trek actor and top-shelf master of the outtake announced he will be living on, long after his death, in the form of a new AI program. Tech company StoryFile, whose name was probably chosen after they realized “Your Grandpa’s anecdotes about hotel dinners, but ad infinitum” didn’t sound very appealing, explains that Shatner is the first person to create their AI-powered interactive conversational video in which people will be able to communicate with him long after he has passed this mortal coil. As StoryFile Co-Founder & CEO Heather Maio-Smith explains, using the required Trek reference, “William Shatner is going where no one has gone before”:
Generations in the future will be able to have a conversation with him. 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.
For those wondering what prompted this decision on Shatner’s part, he seems to see it as a gift to his relatives: “This is for all my children and all my children’s children and all my children’s loved ones and all the loved ones of the loved ones. That’s my gift to you down through time.” And true, it might be nice to be able to pull great-Grandpa out of a drawer years from now and ask, “Wait, did you seriously star in a short-lived sitcom called $#*! My Dad Says?” But also, one of the most attractive things about the cold embrace of death is that you never, ever again have to sit in a room for an awkward family reunion. At least, that used to be one of the best things about it. Now, those meetups with distant relations won’t just be awkward; you’ll also have to deal with William Shatner being there, yammering away about his favorite Priceline commercial, or whatever. Happy birthday, Starfleet captain!