Marilyn Monroe to Be Resurrected With ‘Biological AI’


If you’ve ever wished you could have a conversation with iconic Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe, you’ll soon have your chance—virtually, at least. San Francisco-based Soul Machines has announced “Digital Marilyn,” an interactive video avatar that the company says can provide a personalized, interactive, real-time experience.

The idea, Soul Machine explained in a blog post, was fueled by more than nostalgia. Advances in AI tech, the company said, can help honor and reimagine iconic figures in an interactive and engaging way.

“From static search to text-based chat to conversational AI, we are witnessing a rapid paradigm shift as we begin to head into conversational chat with multimodal capabilities,” Soul Machines said in a document shared with Decrypt.

Soul Machine said the company worked with Monroe’s estate to bring the famed actress back to life.

“Our technology is never used to replace entertainers, and we partner directly with the world’s leading talent and their estates to ensure it is a true partnership that is approved by and benefits the artists we work with,” Soul Machines CEO Greg Cross wrote on the company website.

Image: Soul Machines

In addition to Monroe, Soul Machine offers other AI avatars, including musician Mark Tuan, boxer Francis Ngannou, and golf legend Jack Nicklaus. The Soul Machine AI uses what it calls “Biological AI,” which they claim can authentically mimic human-like behavior.

“Soul Machines’ vision diverges from current generative AI by prioritizing cognitive modeling, explicitly replicating human brain and body interactions (inspired by neuroscience and cognitive science),” the company said. “Our approach is to model the human cognitive processes, and learning and development arc, that lead to more realistic behaviors.”

Soul Machines is one of a growing number of generative AI models designed to mimic celebrities and engage with fans. In September, adult performer Brandi Love joined Twitch star Amouranth, and Caryn Marjorie as AI avatars on the Forever Voices AI platform and Telegram.

While AI companions are a novelty, artificial intelligence being used to replicate humans is a hot-button issue in both the entertainment and political worlds. In November, the SAG-AFTRA WGA strikes came to an end after months of negotiations between the unions and the AMPTP. Suitable terms were reached between the groups for a laundry list of demands, including protections against AI.

But as performers and writers continue to watch developments with AI, companies like Soul Machine, Respeecher, and Metaphysic are offering their services to Hollywood and, in the end, giving users the chance to interact with their favorite celebrities, living or dead.

“At Soul Machines, our AI technology is focused on how we can deepen engagement and connectivity between celebrities and fans across the globe,” Cross said. “AI technology should support artists, never replace them.”

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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