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Son Uses AI To Resurrect Late Father For Moving Christmas Gift: I Got Chills

It allowed her to speak to the ghost of loved ones past.

A Missouri man moved the internet to tears after using AI to resurrect his dead father’s voice as a special Christmas card for his mom.

“I decided to do something special for my mom this year for Christmas,” Philip Willett, 27, explained in the caption of the video, which has amassed over 5.6 million views on the platform.

The St. Louis native, who creates content for The Content Guy, explained in the caption that his father John Willett passed away in 2022 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He wanted to do something unique to honor his “hero” so he decided to digitally resurrect him with AI — specifically with a technology he frequently uses for work.

Willett initially had reservations as he found using his father’s verbal likeness “weird,” he told “Good Morning America.” However, the digital whiz eventually came around to the idea after finding a community of people who used the tech to digitally commune with dead loved ones.

The Missourian specifically used ElevenLabs’ text-to-speech software to match his deceased dad’s exact voice — something he found paramount to making the project a reality.

Using this tech, the content creator managed to create a digital dead ringer for his dad’s tone and cadence. “The actual first words that I put into the program was ‘Hi, honey,’” said Willett. “And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard [my late father] say that in my life, which was why it was the first thing I put in.

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“When the program said it in his voice … I got chills all over my body,” added the creator, who reportedly worked all day on the gift. “That’s when I was like, I’m doing this no matter what.”

Trish Willett.
“I decided to do something special for my mom this year for Christmas,” said Willett, 27.

He then used his dad’s voice to create a digital Christmas card, thereby simulating having his father home for the holidays.

In the touching clip, Willett’s mother Trish Willet is seen opening the video book, which features a montage of photos of the pair. Then, all of a sudden, her late husband greets her:

“Hi Honey, I love ya,” the AI voice actor intones as his widow melts into tears. “I hear your prayers. I want you to know you are the best mother to our kids.”

The facsimile added, “And you are the strongest woman in the whole world. I’m always with you honey, and I hope you guys have a merry Christmas.”

The clip concludes with the mother and son embracing over the heart-rending remembrance.

“It’s been so long since we’ve heard his voice,”said Willett, who found the result “amazing.”

He concluded, “I can also tell you with certainty that this is going to make it easier for her to get through this holiday because she’s been reminded of him and now she knows he’s with her always.”

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The TikTok commentariat was similarly moved to tears by the heartfelt gesture.

“Ah yes. Another tik tok where I sob for people I’ve never met,” said one touched viewer, while another wrote, “I knew I was going to cry but I still stayed because I think your dad deserved to be known.”

Trish Willett.
Willett initially found the idea “weird” but was swayed after finding a community of people who were contemplating doing the same thing.

A third wrote, “I lost my dad to pancreatic cancer two years ago. I don’t know if I could handle this, but I miss his voice so much.”

Willett replied, “So sorry for your loss. It was definitely a tear-jerking process. But it turned out so special.”

This comes as numerous companies from Somnium to Deepbrain are working on AI technology that allows people to upload their deceased loved ones’ consciousness onto computers.

Of course this has given rise to concerns on the ethics of putting words in someone’s mouth post-mortem.

Critics are also concerned that the likenesses of people, both alive and deceased, could be used for scams and other nefarious purposes.
In September, Hollywood icon Tom Hanks posted an advisory on Instagram warning his followers of a commercial that used an AI-generated version of himself to promote a dental plan.

Source: Nypost

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