A father's love: musician 'revives' daughter using AI

Zhang Long
Bao Xiaobo "brought back" his deceased daughter after studying artificial intelligence and using it to have the girl's digital image sing Happy Birthday to her mom.
Zhang Long

Renowned Taiwan musician Bao Xiaobo revealed in a recent interview that he used AI to "revive" his daughter, who passed away at the age of 22 due to a rare blood disease.

In a post in January, Bao uploaded a video of his deceased daughter who sang Happy Birthday to her mother and said how much she missed her.

Bao told the interviewer that after numerous attempts and training, he successfully recreated a "digital daughter" using AI, capable of instantly responding to questions.

On his wife's birthday recently, the family of three sang a birthday song together, leading Bao to reflect: "AI is a tool for expressing yearning, a way to express missing someone."

A father's love: musician 'revives' daughter using AI

Bao shows the AI version of his daughter.

The AI version of Bao's daugher sings Happy Birthday song to her mother.

Some netizens noticed that Bao appeared quite differently recently, with shoulder-length white hair, a stark contrast to his previous appearance.

Previously, Bao said that after his daughter's passing, he had not touched his hair because "there was a section of it that had touched his daughter's forehead every day." Struggling to move past the shadow of losing her, he even avoided greetings from friends and relatives.

To change this, starting from 2022, Bao Xiaobo delved into AI technology and pursued a related PhD, hoping to recreate his late daughter's voice.

He revealed his intention to use technology to bring back his daughter's voice and image, saying: "I want to give her the most perfect image, the most perfect voice, allowing her to continue existing in the beautiful digital world."

When asked about this approach, some questioned: "Do you know this isn't real?" Bao said he didn't mind, emphasizing his deep yearning for his daughter which had prompted him to take these actions.

A father's love: musician 'revives' daughter using AI

Bao and his daughter.

The story has touched many people online. One said the tombstone of the deceased in the future could show its owner's image and voice. Those who pay visits to the deceased can have a chat with the AI version, which will have the memories of the deceased and his or her personality.

Still, many worry that with the AI's striking resemblance to his deceased daughter, Bao might get stuck in sad memories for even longer.

"I know I couldn't get over it for sure if it was me. It will make it even more painful eventually," was one comment.

Bao is well-known in the music industry, having served as artistic director for many record companies.

In 1986, he debuted with his twin brother Bao Xiaosong as the "Twin Star" duo. In 1994, he worked as a producer for the Rolling Stones' record company's Ferryman Music Studio.

In 2009, Bao was a judge on the Hunan TV talent show "Happy Girls."

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