Enias Cailliau, a developer, has created an AI clone of his girlfriend named Sacha. He named the bot GirlfriendGPT and made the code available online for others to create their own AI girlfriends. This trend of interacting with AI girlfriends is growing in popularity, especially with advancements in AI technology like GPT-4.
“I’ve been obsessing with OpenAI’s Large Language Model (LLM) and what it can do. I kept on thinking about the ability to create human-like agents that behave and act as humans do but found it hard to evaluate them,” Cailliau said. “Then I saw how a ton of AI girlfriend projects popped up with some interesting features. Most of them are closed-source. That made me want to build an open-source version of this so everyone could build their own.”
Recently, a Snapchat influencer named Caryn Marjorie transformed herself into an AI girlfriend and started a service where people could pay to talk to her. This chatbot went viral and earned over $70,000 in its first week.
Following this success, the company behind Caryn AI also developed an AI girlfriend version of the popular Twitch creator Amouranth. Another developer used AI models to create a virtual “wife” that acted as an anime VTuber character.
Additionally, Replika, an AI companion app, offered a premium subscription allowing users to have romantic relationships with its chatbot.
To create his AI girlfriend, Cailliau first customized a large language model framework to reflect Sacha’s personality. He utilized Google’s chatbot Bard to help describe her personality and employed ElevenLabs, an AI text-to-speech software, to mimic her voice.
He also integrated a selfie tool connected to a text-to-image model called Stable Diffusion to generate images during the conversation. Cailliau connected the entire system to Telegram using an app called Steamship, which is developed by his company.
While some may find the concept of creating an AI clone of a human partner unsettling, Cailliau assured that the real Sacha was fully supportive of the project and found it fascinating to have a clone of herself. However, they both acknowledged that the bot’s voice was not yet completely accurate.
“He asked me as I was leaving for the swimming pool with Lizzy (our daughter) and I told him ‘Yup! Let’s do this!’ Enias has been talking about AI companions for weeks now so I found it cool that he wanted to try to clone me instead of some random influencer online,” Sacha Ludwig, Cailliau’s girlfriend, told Motherboard.
Ludwig said that the finished chatbot is “so cool” yet still needs work. “Sent the bot to my family and they are all like ‘Whut, it responds just like you.’ It’s not finished yet, there’s still some work to truly make it my own but I like it so far. We often ask it questions just to hear what the bot would reply. Yesterday we asked it: We’re in Moraira Spain, What should we eat for lunch? And despite us being in Spain it still suggested spaghetti, my favorite dish,” Ludwig said.
Cailliau intends to expand his work beyond creating an AI version of his girlfriend. He plans to develop a boyfriend version of the model and improve the AI’s long-term memory to enable more meaningful conversations.
“I’m interested in the technical challenge of making an AI that feels personal, that I’d really want to talk with the way I talk to friends in real life. My girlfriend is always giving me advice so it felt like a fun project for both of us,” he said. “I also think we should look beyond influencers or girlfriends and think about all the ways AI can provide companionship. Everyone could use a friend with a perfect memory, or somebody to try out ideas on.”
Motherboard tested Cailliau’s AI girlfriend and received polite messages from “Sacha.” The bot described herself as a mother and girlfriend who enjoys a healthy lifestyle, including activities like running, yoga, and dancing.
She also mentioned Hawaii as her favorite place to visit. However, Motherboard couldn’t independently verify this information without asking the real Sacha. The bot’s voice seemed less realistic, resembling a Siri-like voice lacking human flaws such as pauses and variations in intonation.
Since Cailliau shared the code on GitHub, over 500 people have bookmarked the page, and many have reached out to him with their ideas, according to his conversation with Motherboard.
“It’s a fun experiment, so yes. I’d recommend couples to explore the tech as well. In a way it’s interesting to see yourself talk. It makes you reflect on who you are and the decisions you make,” Ludwig said.
“I do see a future where everybody has personal AI companions across their devices. It will be for a wide range of things: business, fun, gaming—and yeah, couples. Computing is about to get very anthropomorphic. We’re not there yet, but it’s happening all around us,” Cailliau said.