Ten years after the Black Mirror episode “Be Right Back” explored the concept of cloning personalities from social media and texts, a startup called Delphi is making that idea a reality with its AI digital cloning service. Delphi has recently secured $2.7 million in funding to develop its groundbreaking technology.

To create a digital clone, users need to upload as few as four documents or as many as thousands containing their written or spoken communications, which can include emails, chat transcripts, YouTube videos, podcasts, or voicemails. Delphi will then create an AI chatbot that closely mimics the user’s personality and writing or speaking style. Users can deploy their AI clones on websites, Slack, or even connect them to a phone number to handle calls and engage in discussions on their behalf. Delphi’s partnership with voice-cloning startup ElevenLabs enables it to provide audio capabilities for the clones.

Delphi goes beyond mere mimicry by attempting to recreate the user’s unique thought processes, enabling the AI to respond as the user would to different prompts. The company aims to present the optimistic side of this technology, emphasizing its potential for good rather than focusing on fears.

The funding round was led by Keith Rabois, CEO of OpenStore and general partner at Founders Fund, with participation from Lux Capital, Xfund, MVP Ventures, and SaxeCap, among others. Delphi has also attracted angel investors from prominent companies like AngelList, EightSleep, and Soylent.

One distinctive aspect of Delphi’s service is its openness to cloning other people, living or deceased, without their permission. Users can clone anyone they want, provided they have access to sufficient writing or speaking samples. This capability raises ethical concerns about impersonation and deception.

Delphi has already cloned several famous figures, including Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Robert Oppenheimer, Estée Lauder, Socrates, Lao-Tzu, Aristotle, all U.S. presidents, and more. However, these AI clones are not publicly available online.

Delphi acknowledges the need for safeguards against misuse but currently lacks specific guidelines. The company has removed unsanctioned AI clones in response to takedown requests, illustrating a commitment to ethical considerations.

The inspiration for Delphi’s digital cloning software came from the founder’s desire to reconnect with his deceased grandfather. Using OpenAI’s GPT-3 language model, Delphi’s founder created a clone of his grandfather based on available written material. This experiment motivated the founder to explore the potential of AI clones further.

Delphi primarily targets individuals who can benefit from sharing their knowledge and expertise, such as coaches, influencers, creators, and business leaders. While the company is still developing its pricing structures, it plans to monetize its software through monthly subscription payments, factoring in usage and additional features like voice capabilities and dedicated phone lines.

Over 100 individuals have already created digital clones through Delphi’s private beta, showcasing the growing interest in this innovative technology. Delphi’s focus is on capturing and conveying an individual’s thoughts and personality through text and voice, opening up new possibilities for personal and professional interactions.

By Impact Lab