Autobiographer’s App Uses AI to Write Your Life's Tale

Imagine a tool that can assist you in narrating your life’s journey. Autobiographer, a pioneering startup, embodies this concept by harnessing AI to facilitate meaningful dialogues about your experiences and emotions, ultimately crafting them into compelling narratives, your very own autobiography.

Venturing into a realm rife with controversy, the Autobiographer challenges the notion of AI replacing human creativity in fields like art and writing. However, it takes a different approach: empowering users to articulate their stories in their unique voice. The AI then organizes these narratives into a united output, ready for export as a PDF and potentially for printing, serving more as a collaborator than a sole creator, thus valuing and amplifying the user’s creative input.

While the app may not replace the charm of professionally handwritten narratives, it offers a unique avenue for documenting family legacies, preserving friendships, and creating treasured mementos for future generations. These mementos, infused with the user’s unique voice and experiences, have the potential to evoke nostalgia and sentimentality, making them truly cherished.

Autobiographer’s co-founder and CEO Matt Bowman, driven by a deep desire to immortalize personal narratives, envisions the platform as a gift for his godchildren. Before his tenure at Facebook in the Bay Area, Bowman served in the Army Special Forces, completing deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. These experiences, marked by profound losses, have profoundly influenced his perspective, making his commitment to ‘Autobiographer’ deeply personal.

Bowman shares, “I have a bunch of great stories about my friends in the military — so many funny events, so many unique and amazing events — a lot of which we heard at the funerals for some of my best friends. Now it’s my job to figure out how to synthesize those and give them to my godchildren,” Bowman aims to offer his godchildren insights into their father’s life, particularly his military service, and to convey the essence of his character through these narratives. 

“The technology has now come to a place where it’s possible to do this. We can actually tell these stories, speak them verbally, and then turn them into beautiful keepsakes that we can provide to those around us,” says Bowman.

Bowman partnered with James Barnes, a former colleague from Facebook whose experiences during the 2016 and 2018 elections led him to become one of the earliest individuals to uncover concerns regarding data harvesting practices, notably within the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Barnes’ involvement in subsequent depositions and subpoenas stemming from this event ultimately prompted him to depart from Facebook to establish a Super PAC aimed at opposing the Trump administration.

During his tenure at Facebook and beyond, Barnes explored the capabilities of OpenAI’s GPT-3. He discovered that artificial intelligence could assist him in processing the significant events and milestones he had encountered throughout his life, including his involvement in the data scandal and his subsequent endeavors.

Barnes said, “Artificial intelligence had this incredible reflective capacity to see myself, my story, and my events,”

Though Barnes and Bowman did not cross paths at Facebook, they connected last year in San Francisco. Barnes, searching for someone with military expertise to join the team—including co-founders Luke Schoenfelder and Ivan Almaral—sought Bowman’s assistance in exploring the use of AI for storytelling. The two quickly bonded over their shared goals and mutual experiences, including a keen interest in psychedelic medicine.

“Exploring consciousness was a key point of connection for us. As we work on these really tangible things, we’re also able to think about the capacity of our platform to allow people to introspect and to do more abstract, personal work,” explained Barnes.

Autobiographer app
Image Credits: Autobiographer

To use the app, users interact with an AI agent built on Anthropic technology, which prompts them to share their stories. For example, an initial prompt might ask you to recount an adventure, emphasizing that there are no right or wrong answers. Users can start speaking, pause and resume recording, or skip to another question as they wish.

All memories are securely stored in a vault—a biometrically protected, encrypted space that even Autobiographer staff cannot access.

“One of the most important values as James, Luke, Ivan and I came together, was the obvious understanding that no one’s going to tell their cherished memories or their very emotionally sensitive stories to something that is advertised or that a bunch of engineers can see on the back end,” says Bowman.

The app enables users to delve into various topics, explore their memories, and transform them into prose, such as short stories or heartfelt gratitude letters for loved ones. Currently, these creations can be exported as PDFs, with aspirations to offer printed book options in the future.

Priced at $199 per year, Autobiographer presents itself as a more affordable alternative to hiring a ghostwriter, yet the cost may still deter some potential users.

Recently, the company formed a partnership with journalist Katie Couric, who will act as a promotional partner for the startup. While her specific role is still in the process of being defined, her involvement marks a significant development for Autobiographer.

Established three and a half years ago, the company behind Autobiographer has experienced several pivots before arriving at its current iteration, which officially launched on 30th May, marking one year since its inception.

Furthermore, Autobiographer has secured $4 million in pre-seed funding from various investment firms to support its development and growth.

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