The Autobiographer App Uses Artificial Intelligence To Record Your Life Story

Home AI Projects The Autobiographer App Uses Artificial Intelligence To Record Your Life Story
The Autobiographer App Uses Artificial Intelligence To Record Your Life Story

Can artificial intelligence help tell your story? That’s the vision of a startup called Autobiographer, which uses artificial intelligence to engage users in meaningful dialogues about important events in their lives and the emotions around them. Artificial intelligence then turns these stories into written prose, effectively creating a personal autobiography.


Autobiographer enters the arena of controversy, where many resist the idea that AI can replace artistic, literary, and other creative pursuits. However, in the Autobiographer example, the AI ​​acts more like a co-author, guiding users to share their stories in their own words and then organizing that content into a format that can be exported to PDF and potentially printed and bound in the future. While the app may not match the quality of professionally written autobiographies, it offers a way to document family stories, and friendships, or create treasured keepsakes for children.


Matt Bowman, co-founder and CEO of Autobiographer, sees the app as a way to leave a narrative legacy to his godson. Before working at Facebook in the Bay Area, Bowman served in the Army’s Special Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, suffering losses that deeply affected his perspective. “I have a lot of great stories about my friends in the military—many funny, unique, and incredible stories that are often brought up at funerals for some of my closest friends. Now I must collect these stories for my godsons,” explains Bowman. He wants them to know more about their father, his military life, and his personality. “Technology has advanced to the point where it’s possible,” Bowman says. “We can tell these stories orally and turn them into beautiful keepsakes to share with loved ones.”


Bowman worked with James Barnes, a former Facebook employee during the 2016 and 2018 elections who exposed problems with the Cambridge Analytica data-harvesting scandal. This led to his participation in various depositions and subpoenas. Barnes later left Facebook to start an anti-Trump Super PAC. By experimenting with OpenAI GPT-3, Barnes discovered that AI could help him process his own life experiences, including these critical moments. “The artificial intelligence had an amazing ability to think about my life, my history, and events,” says Barnes.


Although Barnes and Bowman did not work together at Facebook, they met last year in San Francisco. Barnes was looking for someone with a military background to help with the concept of using AI for storytelling. They were united by common goals and experiences, including an interest in psychedelic medicine. “Exploring consciousness was key for us,” Barnes explains. “While working on the practical aspects, we also looked at how our platform can help users introspect and do personal, abstract work,” he adds.


To use the app, users engage in a conversation with an AI assistant powered by Anthropic’s storytelling-inducing technology. For example, an opening prompt might ask users to narrate an adventure, emphasizing that there are no right or wrong answers. Users can start, pause, and resume recording or move to another request at their discretion. Memories are securely stored in a biometrically secured encrypted vault, inaccessible even to Autobiographer employees. “One of the fundamental values ​​we held was the recognition that users would not share valuable memories or sensitive stories if they believed our employees or engineers could access them,” Bowman states. 


The app allows users to browse topics, explore their memories, and ultimately transform them into various prose forms, such as short stories or thank-you letters. Content is currently exported in PDF format, but the team plans to offer printed books in the future. Autobiography costs $199 per year, making it a more affordable option than hiring a ghostwriter, although it can still be expensive for some.


The company is also partnering with journalist Katie Couric, who will be an advertising partner, although her role is still being determined. Founded three and a half years ago, the company behind Autobiographer has gone through several iterations. The latest version of the app, which launches today, was developed over the past year. Autobiographer has raised $4 million in pre-seed funding from various investors.