He Used AI to Give His Mom this Gift

An Emotional Christmas Present

Mom sat in chair opening christmas present

As it’s Christmas tomorrow, we thought we’d find and share a feel-good emotional Christmas story with an AI twist. We found exactly that, and it relates to similar stories we’ve shared this year about how artificial intelligence can be used to bring back lost relatives via realistic AI bots.

We’re keeping it short so you can spend more time eating food, hanging out with family, and working out exactly how to explain AI to your grandma.

This week, Phillip Willet told GMA all about the one-of-a-kind gift he gave his Mom for Christmas this year. In a TikTok video that quickly went viral, you can see his Mom walking into the living room and taking a set.

There’s a caption over the video which reads, “My dad passed away from pancreatic cancer 1.5 years ago.”

She sits and opens the present as emotional music plays in the background.

She opens the card and watches the slideshow on the small screen inside.

Then suddenly, a voice from the video said, “Hi, honey. I love ya.”

She immediately looks up and off camera, instantly recognising the voice belonging to her late husband.

The video continues, and she begins to cry while she listens to the message in her husband’s voice. As it comes to an end, she stands and hugs her son.

Phillip told Good Morning America that his wife came up with the idea to use AI for the gift as she knew he’d been working with AI at his job. He was cautious at first and unsure if he wanted to wade into something quite so emotional.

But then he began researching it and discovered a whole community of people asking the same questions he had about the concept. Some people on the internet had managed to recreate the voices of their lost loved ones, and seeing their success inspired Phillip to give it a go.

The first words he had the voice say were, “Hi, Honey,” because he’d heard his father say them a thousand times when he was alive. When he heard them from the computer, he felt chills down his body.

It took him from 7 AM to 6 PM to finish the gift, and he didn’t leave his desk that day. He says he was invested and wanted to run with it when possible. The final audio was combined with a slideshow of actual photos of his parents together and packaged inside a video book.

We don’t see in the viral video that the pair spent ten minutes hugging after his Mom opened and listened to the gift.

How would you feel about receiving a gift like this? It’s easy to predict that by next year, anyone can create something like this for only a few dollars and with only a short piece of existing audio.

Join the conversation

or to participate.