NIX Solutions: Autobiographer – AI-Powered Storytelling

Can artificial intelligence help you tell your story? That’s the idea behind startup Autobiographer, which uses AI technology to engage users in meaningful conversations about events in their lives and their feelings, then turns them into prose, essentially creating your own autobiography.

Autobiographer operates in a field that has long been controversial, with many people rebelling against the idea that artificial intelligence can create art, write, and pursue other creative endeavors. In the case of Autobiographer, the AI helps the user tell their own story in their own words, then organizes it into output that can be exported to PDF and perhaps someday bound and printed. Essentially, the app works more like a collaborator rather than a sole creator.

The app is not a substitute for professionally written stories, but it can serve as a way to document family history or friendships, or create a memorable gift for your children.

Founders’ Vision and Development

Autobiographer co-founder and CEO Matt Bowman sees the app as a way to leave a story behind for his godchildren. Before joining Facebook*, Bowman served in the Army Special Forces, where he was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result, he experienced losses that shaped his worldview.

“I have tons of great stories about my military friends—so many funny stories, so many unique and amazing experiences—many of which we heard at the funerals of some of my best friends. Now my job is to figure out how to synthesize them and pass them on to my godchildren,” says Bowman. He wants them to be able to learn more about their father, his life in the army, and the kind of person he was.

“Technology has now advanced to the point where this is possible,” explains Bowman. “We can tell these stories, verbalize them, and then turn them into beautiful souvenirs that we can give to others.”

Bowman teamed up with James Barnes, who also worked at Facebook* during the 2016 and 2018 elections, where he was one of the first to spot problems in the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal. He later left Facebook and while experimenting with OpenAI GPT-3, he discovered that artificial intelligence could help him process the things he had been through in his life.

“The artificial intelligence had an incredible reflexive ability to see me, my history, and my events,” says Barnes.

While Barnes and Bowman didn’t cross paths at Facebook, they met last year in San Francisco as Barnes was looking for someone with military experience to help the team (which also includes co-founders Luke Schoenfelder and Ivan Almaral) experiment with the idea of ​​using AI to create stories. They bonded over shared goals and other experiences, including an interest in psychedelic medicine.

User Experience and Future Goals

To use the app, you enter into a conversation with an AI agent built on Anthropic technology, which asks you to tell a story. For example, at the beginning, you may be asked to tell about an adventure, reminding you that there is no right or wrong answer. You can start speaking, pause and resume recording, or move on to another question if you wish.

Memories are stored in a vault, a biometrically secure, encrypted space that not even Autobiographer employees have access to, notes NIX Solutions.

“One of the most important values of James, Luke, Ivan, and I was a clear understanding that no one is going to tell their cherished memories or very emotionally sensitive stories if they are used for advertising or a bunch of engineers can see them on the backend,” says Bowman.

The app allows you to revisit topics, explore your memories, and then turn them into different types of prose—like a short story or a thank-you letter to a loved one. For now, they are exported to PDF, but in the future, the team wants to print them as a book. We’ll keep you updated on the latest developments.

Autobiographer costs $199 a year—certainly cheaper than a professional writing assistant, but still expensive enough to put off some users.

The company is also partnering with journalist Katie Couric, who will serve as the startup’s advertising partner. However, her role has not yet been defined.

Founded three and a half years ago, Autobiographer has undergone several pivots during this time. It has received a total of $4 million in pre-seed funding from various companies.