William Shatner's New Interactive AI 'Goes Where No One Has Gone Before'
- By John K. Waters
Actor William Shatner celebrated his 90th birthday last week with the announcement that he has allowed StoryFile to create an interactive, conversational AI-powered virtual version of himself. Shatner is the first person to use StoryFile's Life to create a personal AI, the company said.
"William Shatner is going where no one has gone before,” said StoryFile co-founder and CEO, Heather Maio-Smith, in a statement. "Generations in the future will be able to have a conversation with him. Not an avatar, not a deep fake, but with the real William Shatner answering their questions about his life and work. This changes the trajectory of the future, of how we experience life today, and how we share those lessons and stories for generations to come."
The actor most famous for his portrayal of James T. Kirk, captain of the star ship Enterprise on TV's "Star Trek," made the announcement on Twitter. He also recorded a promotion video for the company's website. "For all my children and all my children's children and all my children's loved ones and all the loved ones of the loved ones," Shatner said in a statement. "That's my gift to you down through time."
The announcement precedes the company's Life platform launch, set for June. The company describes the platform as a new type of interactive storytelling "that will change how we remember, how we interact, how we share stories, how we teach future generations, and how we learn." The technology includes technology the company is calling "Artificially Intelligent Interactive Memories System," which uses its Conversa natural language processing system. A premium version of the StoryFile Life platform will be available by subscription and one-time payment plans, the company said, with free limited-scope trial versions available.
"At StoryFile, we believe every person’s story matters,” said StoryFile co-founder Stephen Smith, in a statement. "Who better to show the world how StoryFile Life works than, William Shatner, a man the world knows for stretching our imaginations about the future and life in this universe and beyond. A man who has always generously shared the highs and lows with us, and who has mastered the art of storytelling."
The Conversa platform has been used to create "StoryFiles" with Time magazine and Microsoft. The company also claims to have created the world's "first and only" AI Santa Claus last Christmas. The company created the ersatz Santa "to usher in the holiday spirit to children and families worldwide… during the COVID pandemic."
John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of Converge360.com sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.