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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Man In China Uses AI To Create Virtual Version Of Grandmother Who Died Of Covid

Man In China Uses AI To Create Virtual Version Of Grandmother Who Died Of Covid

Mr Wu said he shared a deep bond with his grandmother, as she was the one who raised him after his parents divorced.
Ever since the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI), users all over the world have been figuring out what experiments they can do with it. Now, tech-savvy people have gone one step ahead and have started using AI tools to create realistic avatars of people who have died. Recently, a 24-year-old man in China surnamed Wu, used AI to create a real-like digital avatar of his late grandmother, reported South China Morning Post.

Mr Wu, who is visual arts designer, posted a video of a virtual conversation with his grandmother, which has sparked a heated discussion in the country.

''Grandma, my dad and I will go back to our hometown to celebrate the Lunar New Year with you this year,'' Mr Wu said in the recording. ''My dad called you last time. What did you say to him?''

''I told him not to drink wine. Be thrifty and not play cards,'' the AI grandmother replied.

Mr Wu said he shared a deep bond with his grandmother, as she was the one who raised him after his parents divorced. However, she died from coronavirus in January, aged 84.

Saddened by her death, he used AI to create a virtual avatar of her in order to communicate with her. He first used image software and old photos to create a dynamic image of her and then trained the AI to mimic her voice tone using recordings of his phone conversations.

''I shared many details of my grandma's life to ChatGPT, hoping it could understand my grandma's family background and speech so it could communicate with me in my grandma's tone,'' Mr Wu said. At present, the virtual version can only have simple conversations, but she can blink, nod and even heartily laugh.

Mr Wu said that he created the project just for ''psychological comfort,'' and added that he ''feels good being able to look at grandma and talk more with her.''

His story has now generated considerable attention, with many people sympathising with him, while others were not on-board with the unusual concept.

One person said, ''It is a way to relieve one's sorrow. What this blogger did is meaningful. The company of an AI is still a form of companionship, after all.'' Another commented, ''It is not the real her. Isn't he afraid when talking with her? I think he should just let his grandma rest in peace and miss her in his heart.''

Notably, many funeral companies in China are also employing this technology to allow people to relive moments with their loved ones who have passed away, according to Guangzhou Daily via the Straits Times.
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