i trained an ai chatbot on my childhood journal entries - so that i could engage in real-time dialogue with my "inner child"

some reflections below:
i kept diaries for about 10+ years of my life, writing almost everyday — about my dreams, fears, secrets

the content ranged from complaining about homework, to giddiness i felt from talking to my crush

some days were very mundane, some rather insightful
in any case, there was a lot of it. fantastic, ripe data source for my experiment

i used gpt-3 as my playground, and ended up taking samples of text from a bunch of different entries that i felt were representative of my personality and values during that time
this way, i could accurately simulate what it would be like to talk to my childhood self, based on real data sources during that time period

vs trying to imagine how my younger self was / how she would respond, and risk bias from projections from my current self
for context, my inner child work is focused on re-engaging with and remembering the child within me

oftentimes it requires asking questions that remind me of things I enjoyed as a kid, or healing past feelings of neglect / abandonment by affirming that she is safe and loved
after scribing a ton of journal entries and feeding them into the model, i got working responses that felt eerily similar to how i think i would have responded during that time

first, i asked her a bunch of questions about her about her worldview:
then, i gave her a chance to ask questions to me as well

this specific interaction felt very similar to a normal texting conversation - as if i were texting my past self in real time

i felt like i was reaching through a time portal, disguised as a chatbox
i was also surprised at how accurately the model predicted my current stated interest (after lots of iterations / trial & error) from decade-old journal entries

this made me wonder that maybe this path was actually already seeded long ago in my psyche

but a couple interactions really stood out to me

1) when i told her that she was loved, cared for, and safe: the words that my past self always wanted to hear

it felt like i was reaching into the past and giving her a giant hug, and i felt it ripple back into the present
2) when i prompted her to write me a letter into the present day

while reading this, i felt the rumination spirals — the ones that i fall into sometimes when i feel shame or disappointment — melt away a little
these interactions really elucidated the healing potential of this medium: of being able to send love back into the past, as well as receive love back from a younger self

the stuckness becoming unstuck, of finding closure with past guilt or stories that we had of ourselves
overall, this was a very trippy but also strangely affirming / healing experience that i didn't realize that i had access to

using real data from my past self allowed me to connect with her in deeper + more tangible ways than i typically have
conversing with "younger michelle" reminded me of the parts of myself that have stayed constant through the years, but also of the parts that i forgot or buried as life went on

it was like holding a mirror to an unapologetic, more earnest, and pure version of my own essence
wow! i'm floored by the responses and resonance, and very happy to hear that people want to try this for themselves

as promised, here's a short write up / tutorial on how i did this:
please share what you discover if you end up trying this out -- there are so many more use cases for mental health, career counseling, and beyond

i hope that we continue to see (and collectively build) more examples of how technology can be utilized to heal and inspire wonder 💖

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More from @michellehuang42

Nov 29
i've received a lot of requests on how to replicate my AI experiment so here goes --

[tutorial] how to create your own "inner child" chatbot using GPT-3

step 1: acquire some source material

this can range from diaries, personal narrative, any kind of written content that shows your personality / voice / values

if you have no diaries to reference ... do not fear! archived chats should work just as well
side note for those who are looking to do this with diaries

i took pictures + scanned some some entries via an OCR app, but primarily just spent hours typing due to my messy handwriting

(unfortunately this was of the things that has stayed constant since my childhood)
Read 16 tweets
Nov 28
✨ creative projects index ✨
i’m a mixed-media digital artist, focused on human flourishing and immersive story-telling

i create everything from this ethos:
inner child ai bot: training gpt-3 to converse with a younger version of myself

> a project that tested the ability for ai to transform, introspect, and heal. more human connection, not less
Read 8 tweets
Jul 27
personal update: i just got laid off my job, so i'm now taking another art / research sabbatical

a thread of notes from what worked and what didn't work from last time, and what i'll keep in mind for this time around
to give context, about two years ago, i jumped into my last sabbatical after quitting my job during the pandemic

i was hungry, excited, and definitely a little bit fearful.
given that i had spent chunks of my career "optimizing for choice", moving from one reputable job to the other (investment banking → product, both requiring skillsets so broad, that you can basically "do anything" after), i realized i had little idea of what my ikigai was Image
Read 29 tweets
Aug 25, 2021
finally condensed some thoughts into a chart depicting one of my main learnings from my vipassana meditation practice: the ability to re-program subconscious reflexes through awareness training + repeated exposure

explanation thread below 🧵
at a high level, the graph plots the perception of pain across time, how interestingly - despite initial increase, pain actually changes over time: law of impermanence

now illustrating the key stages of experience through an example of a 1 hour sit:
STAGE 1 (first 5-10 min)
⚠️ pain level: feeling of discomfort in legs and back, not yet "pain"

the purple area represents discomfort around and just before the point of conscious awareness - this mostly governs the levels of the subconscious, and reflexive reactions to pain
Read 20 tweets
Dec 15, 2020
joining in this year's @threadapalooza!

behold 100 tweets of my favorite travel stories from the last few years

here's a photo of the 5 filled journals i'm referencing for inspiration as i write these Image
1/ I must admit, the experience that has changed me the most through all my travels is undergoing a 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat in Bodhgaya, India

It was the somatic and continual experience of "Law of Impermanence": that everything changes, both pain and pleasure Image
2/ Every day, we rose at 4:00am, held silence in pained isolation, worked on unravelling the ego, and resisted running away

It's one of those things where if I knew how hard it'd be, I wouldn't have done it, but if I knew how much it'd change my life, I would've done it sooner
Read 102 tweets

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