A Chinese man has created a virtual version of his deceased grandmother using artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

The 24-year-old, surnamed Wu, shared a video online of himself talking to the AI version of his grandmother. Wu used image software and old photos to create a dynamic image of his grandmother, then trained the AI to mimic her voice tone using recordings of his phone conversations with her before she died. He also consulted with the AI chatbot ChatGPT to learn how to make the AI version of his grandmother more realistic.

Wu said the project was purely for psychological comfort, but it has sparked controversy in China. While some internet users praised Wu for finding a way to relieve his sorrow, others criticized him for not directly facing the reality of death. Despite the debate, Wu’s story has attracted millions of views on Chinese social media.

Wu explained that he had a deep bond with his grandmother, who raised him after his parents divorced. He returned to his hometown in southern China to be by her bedside when she fell ill with coronavirus in January, but she remained in a coma until she died. Struggling with her death, Wu had the idea to “resurrect” her using AI technology. He said that while the AI version of his grandmother can only have simple conversations for now, he feels comforted being able to look at her and talk to her more.

Wu’s project highlights the potential of AI technology to transform the way we experience and remember our loved ones after they have passed away. While some may find it unsettling, others may see it as a form of companionship and a way to keep memories alive. Regardless of the debate, Wu’s project is an interesting example of how technology can be used to create a new kind of human-AI interaction.


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