St. Louis Resident Creates Heartwarming AI Gift, Reviving Late Father’s Voice for Christmas

A heartwarming Christmas tale emerged from St. Louis as Phillip Willett embarked on a poignant journey to gift his mother, Trish Willett, a unique present—replicating the voice of his late father, John Willett, who passed away in 2022 due to pancreatic cancer. Using AI technology, Willett recreated his father’s voice, a project that garnered widespread attention after a TikTok video detailing the process went viral, amassing over 3 million views.

Initially hesitant about the idea, Willett’s inspiration stemmed from his wife, Kassandra Willett, who proposed the concept of using AI. Delving into online communities and discovering others who had successfully replicated loved ones’ voices with similar technology, Willett’s doubts transformed into determination. He meticulously experimented with ElevenLabs’ text-to-speech software, capturing his late father’s voice saying, “Hi, honey,” a phrase laden with sentimental significance. Overwhelmed by the lifelike result, he devoted an entire day to perfecting the gift, culminating in a touching video book featuring his father’s voice alongside cherished photos of his parents.

The emotional impact of the AI-generated gift was profound, capturing Trish Willett’s immediate and heartfelt reaction, captured in a snippet shared on TikTok. The video book, designed to serve as a nostalgic “portal” into the Willetts’ shared life, evoked tears and a ten-minute embrace between mother and son. Phillip Willett emphasized the enduring comfort the gift brought, expressing confidence that it would help his mother navigate the holiday season by keeping the memory of her husband alive. Encouraging others to explore the potential of generative AI for meaningful endeavors, Willett’s touching gesture stands as a testament to the technology’s ability to preserve cherished memories and provide solace during difficult times.

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