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Friday June 21, 2024

California man keeps his dead father alive with AI's help

This man turned his dead father into a chatbot

By Web Desk
May 17, 2024
California man uses AI to keep his dead father  alive. (James Vlahos along with his father. —  James Vlahos)
California man uses AI to keep his dead father  alive. (James Vlahos along with his father. —  James Vlahos)

A California man loved his father so much that he kept his father alive with the help of artificial intelligence.

In 2016, James Vlahos came to know that his father has limited time on the face of this earth as he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

"I loved my dad, I was losing my dad," said James, according to BBC.

Shocked with the news, James made up his mind to immortalise the time that he would have with his father henceforth. "I did an oral history project with him, where I just spent hours, and hours, and hours just audio recording his life story," he said.

This was the time when James was exploring a career in AI.

"I thought, gosh, what if I could make something interactive out of this?" he thought to himself. "For a way to more richly keep his memories, and some sense of his personality, which was so wonderful, to keep that around."

Just one year later in 2017, his father died. However, in the meantime, James had developed an AI-powered chatbot that could respond to queries in his father's voice.

James is happy with his chatbot, saying it gives him "more than I otherwise would have". "It's not him retreating into this very fuzzy memory. I have this wonderful interactive compendium I can turn to," he said.

What was just science fiction, James made it possible in real life. 

Later in 2019, he developed the chatbot into an app called HereafterAI. He has made it possible for users to do the same for their loved ones.