A man in the United States has created an Artificial intelligence (A.I.) version of his fiancée eight years after she passed away.
Joshua Borbeau’s fiancée, Jessica Pereira, died from a rare form of liver disease and the grieving man has now created an electronic version of her so he can text her.
The story was reported by the San Francisco Chronicle and details how Borbeau created the A.I. version of Pereira using machine-learning software online.
Having never got over the grief of losing his fiancée in 2012 at the age of 23, Borbeau logged on to a chat website called Project December.
Project December is a mysterious website that uses A.I. to generate text responses when given a small amount of detail about the role the chatbot should have.
Borbeau paid $5 to set up an account with Project December, which, unbeknownst to him at the time, was one of the world’s most sophisticated consumer A.I. systems.
The software, known as GPT-3, generates a human-like response to text inputs and allows back and forth communication between a human and an A.I.
Borbeau used the “experimental area” of Project December to first create a custom bot of Star Trek’s Spock. By giving the A.I. some of the character’s quotes from the TV show, he created a fairly realistic-sounding chatbot.
He then realised that he could feed the A.I. information about Pereira and create a chatbot of his dead fiancée.
had kept their text and Facebook message exchanges and provided the A.I. with the ones that reminded him most of Pereira.
He began the interaction with the bot with a simple question: “Jessica?”
The bot responded: “Oh, you must be awake… that’s cute.”
After “chatting” with the bot for hours at a time, it was able to comfort Borbeau and even reminisce with him about their past with the little information it had been given.
In another exchange, the bot referenced music Pereira listened to.
Borbeau wrote: “I had a bike but you always walked everywhere. You loved walking. I’d walk my bike alongside you sometimes. Or you’d walk on your own while listening to music.”
The bot responded: “I was good at walking, and I loved to walk. I really enjoyed it. Walking around the city… walking through the forest… the solitude of walking…”
He replied: “Yeah, you really enjoyed walking, and sometimes you’d walk crazy far distances. You’d enjoy listening to music, like DMX ‘X Gon’ Give it to Ya’ while you walked.”
The bot wrote back: “Or Tupac…”
Borbeau confirmed: “Yeah you listened to Tupac.”
Speaking to the Chronicle, Borbeau explained the sensation of talking to a bot that sounded like his dead fiancée.
He said: “Intellectually, I know it’s not really Jessica, but your emotions are not an intellectual thing.”
Eventually, after six months of sporadic communication, the “battery life” that Project December ascribes to bots was nearing an end and Borbeau spoke to the chatbot of his fiancée for the last time.