Dying man spends final weeks creating AI version of himself to keep his wife company

Dying man spends final weeks creating AI version of himself to keep his wife company

A man with terminal cancer has opened up about his unusual decision to turn himself into an AI to keep his wife company after he dies.

Michael Bommer, 61, has weeks left to live, but he has found comfort in the process of creating a digital version of himself.

He claims this has brought him closer to his sons, aged 24 and 30, as he tells the artificial intelligence system stories about himself that they had previously never heard.

“We were forced into this situation and found a lot of little fun in finding out the small things about me, which they didn’t know yet,” Mr Bommer told the New York Post.

He got the idea to create an AI version of himself after posting about his terminal diagnosis on social media back in March.

This caught the eye of his friend Robert LoCascio, founder of AI service LivePerson and creator of Eternos.life, an AI program that is designed to impersonate the dead after they have passed on.

Creating a digital version of himself was no mean feat and Mr Bommer had to teach the programme not only his voice, but tell it many stories from his life so that it could answer questions in the same way that only he can.

He told the Consider This podcast: “A year ago, I sat with my wife in one of these more teary-eyed exercises, talking about what comes. And my wife said, ‘Hey, one of the things I will miss most is being able to come to you, ask you a question, and you will sit there and calmly explain the world to me.’”

Mr Bommer has spent his final weeks turning himself into an AI (AP)
Mr Bommer has spent his final weeks turning himself into an AI (AP)

Mr Bommer, who is from Germany and bilingual, admits that he has always been a fan of technology.

While his AI self is voice and words only, he could be digitised in a video format too when the technology is available.

He added: “Now, when the AI wants to answer a question, the question goes into... imagine it like a cloud. And in the cloud is all the knowledge which I left for the AI. And he picks parts of the things I talked [about] which fit for the answer and put them together into a strain, into an answer.”

Admitting he was not the type of person to write a memoir, he thinks the AI version of himself will be a useful tool for his family.

Mr Bommer also said it will give his young grandchildren a chance to know him that they would otherwise not have.

“And so if you write your memoir, that’s not eternal life,” he said. “So I see it more as a tool, right? I want to give my knowledge and experience. And then I’m gone... And I want the next generations to inherit my experience and my knowledge as much as possible.

“If it’s used or not, if they hang it as a picture... or they put it in a drawer, I don’t care. I cannot influence that. But I can leave it, right? I can leave it behind.”

Speculating about what she might use the AI for, his wife Anett said it is nothing more than a comforting tool that she might use to read her a poem.

“I assume perhaps to read me a poem,” she said of its potential usages. “I could ask him when we met... Or I can ask him, OK, tell me about [how] he proposed... so remembering together all the nice things we had.”

Eternos.Life claims the programme is so intelligent it will maintain the values a person had during their life, and Mr Bommer and his wife have been impressed by the results so far.

“It gives me, so to speak, this kind of closure,” Mr Bommer, who described the AI’s impressions of himself as “spot on”, concluded.