James Vlahos lost his father to cancer in 2017, but still chats with him all the time. John tells his son stories about his childhood crush on the girl across the street and about Papa Demoskopoulos, the pet rabbit he had as a kid. He tells him about singing in Gilbert and Sullivan operas and becoming a lawyer. Sometimes he’ll drop one of his signature insults: “Well, hot dribbling spit.”
The elder Vlahos talks with his child via a conversational chatbot called Dadbot his son created after his father was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. For months, Vlahos recorded his dying dad’s life stories, then turned them into an interactive AI that speaks in his father’s voice.
Dadbot “was a transformational experience for me because it gave me great solace. It gave my family great solace,” says Vlahos, a former tech journalist and author of Talk To Me, a book on conversational AI. “It didn’t replace my dad, but it gave us this really rich way to remember him.”
Now Vlahos is bringing his Dadbot technology to HereAfter AI.