Live Forever with AI

Giving away my AI startup idea

Hi there

Today, I decided to do things a little bit differently.

(and sorry about being a day late)

I will illustrate today’s topic by giving away my AI startup idea.

I know. I can see your eyes rolling backward.

Every man and his dog has an AI idea these days…

But I have been sitting on this idea for a half year now, and I conclude that I am not the right person to execute this.

Who knows, maybe someone reading this email is?

I know a couple of investors/VCs are reading my weekly ramblings, so maybe this is what they have been waiting for all this time.

AI avatars and their possibilities

I could have made today’s newsletter about AI avatars and told you about the existing companies, why they work, and why people use them.

But I’m not going to…

I will mention a few, but instead, tell the story about AI avatars through a practical example while at the same time giving away my AI startup idea.

And while I don’t like to share my “brilliant ideas” with the world, I think it is time to let this one go…

So, what is an AI avatar anyway?

Instead of me trying to explain what it is, I asked my good friend ChatGPT what an AI avatar is.

This is what she told me (my ChatGPT is a she, I call her Stacey - she is kind, warm, and loves me… pun intended):

An AI avatar is a digital representation of a character, usually human-like, powered by artificial intelligence. This technology combines natural language processing, machine learning, and sometimes even augmented and virtual reality elements.

Here are some key features of AI avatars:

Interactivity: AI avatars can interact with users in real time. They can understand and respond to text or voice inputs from users, providing an engaging and interactive experience.

Learning Ability: AI avatars can learn from their interactions. Using machine learning techniques, they can improve their responses over time based on the data they gather from user interactions.

Personalization: AI avatars can be personalized to suit the needs of individual users. They can adapt their language, tone, and content to match the preferences and behaviors of the user.

Human-like Behavior: Many AI avatars are designed to mimic human behavior. Sometimes, they can understand and generate natural language, recognize emotions, and even exhibit lifelike physical movements.

Versatility: AI avatars can be used in various contexts, including customer service, entertainment, education, and more. They can be deployed on various platforms like websites, mobile apps, and virtual reality environments.

Thanks for the lesson, now what?

We are in a time in history when we have many tools that can do unimaginable things.

We have super powerful AIs from companies like OpenAI, Antrophic, Google, and more that can quickly process and understand a huge amount of data and give almost instantaneous replies.

We have insane voice AIs like ElevenLabs and Air AI - which I will cover in a later issue.

And then you have smart people like my friend Jodie Cook, one of the founders of CoachVox AI, a tool to “clone yourself” for business purposes. I wrote about cloning yourself back in April.

And you have humanoids that are getting more and more realistic.

So, where am I going with all this???

I am getting to it….

You have all this fantastic technology that almost exists in a vacuum.

What if you combine it all together?

Here is my brilliant startup idea…

I have briefly mentioned the AI called Replika, possibly the most “famous” AI companion and certainly one of the first.

The backstory of Replika is that the founder, Eugenia Kuyda, lost her best friend, Roman, to a hit-and-run car accident. In mourning, she would go through the text messages between her and Roman, reminisce over their past, and find solace and comfort in them.

Then she thought, “Can I create a chatbot and continue my texting with Roman and keep the memories alive this way?”

That is the origin story of Replika…

So what about your big idea, Thomas?

Two and a half years ago, I lost my mother to cancer.

We were very close.

I recently heard an interview with Eugenia of Replika, where she said that one thing that struck her was how fast we “forget” about people.

She had problems coping with the loss of Roman.

I share these feelings and thoughts with Eugenia regarding my mother.

Sometimes, I feel like I am the only one who still remembers her.

So, finally, here is my big idea:

Create an AI companion company that creates a replica of your dying person before she/he passes away for the family, children, friends, etc. This way, you can “have them near” once they are gone.

I know it may be a bit morbid, but hear me out…

I have spoken about this with a few people; some get it, and others don't.

However, it seems that the people who get it have lost someone, while the others, generally, have not.

Imagine this…

You are 40 years old, get cancer, and are given 6-12 months to live.

You have three children between 5 and 12.

They are about to lose a parent.

You will not be able to see them grow up, and they are going to grow up without a mom or a dad giving them advice and help as they grow up - from questions about boys/girls, puberty, first kiss, questions about life, advice or share experiences, etc.

Would you not want to share all your knowledge and wisdom with your kids as they grow up and need you and want to hear and learn about your experiences, “what would dad say”, or “what would mom think about this"?

If it were me, I would want this…

Or what about another scenario?

You are in your 40s, and your mother gets diagnosed with cancer. Your father is already dead.

She has 12-24 months left to live.

You are midway in your own life; you have kids of your own, but your marriage is about to go to hell. You keep it together as long as your mom is alive.

When your mother dies, you divorce shortly after.

You are alone. You are hurt. You lost your last parent. You lost your family. Your life is in shambles, and your friends are mostly busy with their own lives.

All you want to do is to pick up the phone and call your mom….

It does not matter if you are 20 or 45; calling Mom when you are having a tough time is what you do, right?

But she is dead…

(No, the last story is not mine, but it is close enough).

Not everyone dies suddenly.

Often, we have time to “make arrangements” before the end arrives.

My mom got 12 months to live, but due to some new meds, we got 25 months (though the last two hardly count).

This is where my brilliant idea comes into play.

What if you could have a service - it would be pricey, but still - where you could go through a series of interviews, almost as if someone were to write the book about your dying mother?

Everything is recorded, transcribed, and stored in a database.

In addition, everything you have of pictures and videos is stored in the database.

Then you have multiple AI systems working together to:

  1. Create an exact replica/deep fake of your mother

  2. Recreate their exact voice and tonation

  3. Replicate their exact “tone of voice” (how they talk and express themselves)

  4. Have the AI trained on the knowledge, wisdom, views, and attitudes of your person based on several hours of interviews

  5. Ability to bring forth pictures and video clips “as needed” during conversations

This is created before the person dies (or decays beyond recognition).

If you want to take an extreme approach (I wouldn’t), you could do a “Mission Impossible” style mask and recreate the face of your person and add on top of a humanoid, and dress it up in your mom's clothes (I know, I am dragging it far here, but I am sure some people would do this).

Want the most extreme of extremes? Be warned, and I probably should not even write this… But if it is your partner dying, you could use all the above and then contact RealDoll (Google it) and recreate an exact replica of your partner as a sex doll…

I warned you it was extreme…

Okay, I got sidetracked!

Back to my startup idea…

In short, my idea would be to build an AI company that creates digital replicas or AI avatars of a dying loved one.

I would build facilities “around the world” - a studio or home services (mobile set-up with green screen) - and do the interviews and then create a replica of the soon-to-be-gone person.

I think if I could figure out a way how to combine CoachVox, Synthesia, ElevenLabs, and GPT-4 with a studio (or “mobile service”) to do the interviews, I would have myself a solid high-end AI avatar concierge service that a lot of people would pay good money for…

And the lifetime value of that customer would be bonkers…

It's not like they will cancel anytime soon, right?

And, of course, your customer will pay all the production costs (+ a margin) and a yearly subscription thereafter.

Is anyone looking for a low churn, high LTV subscription business?

This is it…

The stickiness of your customers - to use a fancy business term - would be very high.

But wait, there is already someone doing this!

Before writing the newsletter, I did not plan to do any deeper research on this topic (AI avatars).

But then I came across the latest Trends report by my buddy Dru Riley on LinkedIn on Wednesday, and I had to do more research after all.

So yes, there are technically a couple of companies doing something similar.

Most noteworthy is HereAfter AI, which I guess would be an “economy” version of what I am talking about.

And then there is Re;memory which uses DeepMind AI. From the examples they are giving, they seem to be in China. But this seems to be the closest to what I am thinking about.

But if I were to go forward with this idea, would I be discouraged by these two companies?

No, far, far from it.

I would be encouraged!

I would want to develop the “Rolls Royce” of AI avatars / AI replicas.

Or, maybe not the Rolls Royce, but the Mercedes of AI avatars - to stay with the car analogy… I want it to be amazing, but not only for the “rich and famous”.

Honestly, as things stand, I imagine that the aforementioned company, CoachVox by Jodie Cook & Co, might be able to move towards this “easily.”

Well, nothing is easy.

But from what I see, they seem to have the AI persona replica tech figured out.

Now they “only” need to add the deep fake/video element, and they are good to go...

But most of all, I think there is room for a few of these companies - it is a big world, after all...

So if you are one smart gal or guy, but don’t have many good ideas yourself, this might be the one opportunity for you…

If anyone goes along with this idea, please let me know!

I would love to follow along.

That’s all I have for you today.

What do you think about my idea or AI avatars in general?

Hit reply and let me know :)

AI’ll be back!

- Thomas

Why did the skeleton go to the party alone?



He had no body to go with him!


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