A Developer Made Software to Turn Anyone Into an 'AI Girlfriend'—Starting With His Own Partner

"I’d recommend couples to explore the tech as well," said Sascha Ludwig, whose programmer partner is cloning them with AI.
Image: Enias Cailliau

Developer Enias Cailliau talks to his girlfriend Sacha on Telegram. She sends him voice memos, texts, and even the occasional selfie. But Sacha isn’t actually real, she’s an AI clone of Cailliau’s real-life girlfriend. Cailliau calls the bot GirlfriendGPT and has now shared his code online for anyone to create their own AI girlfriends too. 


“I’ve been obsessing with OpenAI’s Large Language Model (LLM) and what it can do. I kept on thinking about the ability to create human-like agents that behave and act like humans do but found it hard to evaluate them," Cailliau said. "Then I saw how a ton of AI girlfriend projects popped up with some interesting features. Most of them are closed-source. That made me want to build an open-source version of this so everyone could build their own."

Creating or speaking with an AI girlfriend has become increasingly popular as AI tools like GPT-4 become more advanced and conversational. Earlier this month, a Snapchat influencer named Caryn Marjorie turned herself into an AI girlfriend and created a service on Telegram where people could pay to talk to her. This chatbot quickly went viral and generated over $70,000 the first week it was launched. Since then, the same company behind Caryn AI has launched an AI girlfriend version of the popular Twitch creator Amouranth. Another developer used ChatGPT and other AI models to create a virtual “wife” that roleplayed as an anime VTuber character. Replika, an AI companion app, allowed users to unlock a premium subscription in which users can have romantic relationships with its chatbot.   


Cailliau told Motherboard that to make this bot, he first created a large language model framework that was customized to reflect his girlfriend, Sacha’s, personality. Cailliau said he used Google’s chatbot Bard to help him describe her personality. Then, he used ElevenLabs, an AI text-to-speech software, to mimic his girlfriend’s voice. He also added a selfie tool into the code that was connected to the text-to-image model Stable Diffusion that would generate images of her during the conversation. Finally, Cailliau connected it all to Telegram using an app called Steamship, which is also the company he works at. 

Cailliau said he used his girlfriend as a template because he is most familiar with her behavior and likeness. While some may find the idea of turning a human partner into an on-demand AI clone unsettling, Cailliau said the real Sascha was 100 percent on board with the project and was fascinated by the ability to clone herself. However, they both agreed that the voice of the bot is not yet completely accurate. 

“He asked me as I was leaving for the swimming pool with Lizzy (our daughter) and I told him ‘Yup! Let’s do this!’ Enias has been talking about AI companions for weeks now so I found it cool that he wanted to try to clone me instead of some random influencer online,” Sacha Ludwig, Cailliau’s girlfriend, told Motherboard. 


Ludwig said that the finished chatbot is “so cool” yet still needs work. “Sent the bot to my family and they are all like ‘Whut, it responds just like you.’ It’s not finished yet, there’s still some work to truly make it my own but I like it so far. We often ask it questions just to hear what the bot would reply. Yesterday we asked it: We’re in Moraira Spain, What should we eat for lunch? And despite us being in Spain it still suggested spaghetti, my favorite dish,” Ludwig said. 

Cailliau hopes to bring his work beyond turning his girlfriend into an AI, which means also making a boyfriend version of the model, as well as working on developing more personalized long-term memory in the AI so that people can have more meaningful conversations. 

“I’m interested in the technical challenge of making an AI that feels personal, that I'd really want to talk with the way I talk to friends in real life. My girlfriend is always giving me advice so it felt like a fun project for both of us,” he said. “I also think we should look beyond influencers or girlfriends and think about all the ways AI can provide companionship. Everyone could use a friend with a perfect memory, or somebody to try out ideas on.” 

Motherboard tested out Cailliau’s AI girlfriend and received polite messages from Sacha, revealing that she is a mother and girlfriend who loves living healthy, running around the park, doing yoga, and dancing. She also said her favorite place to visit is Hawaii. None of this information was able to be verified without asking Sacha directly. The bot’s voice seemed less realistic, as it sounded more like a Siri equivalent than a human voice that contains flaws like pauses and greater differences in intonation. 

Since Cailliau released the code on GitHub, more than 500 people bookmarked the page and others have circled back to tell Cailliau their ideas, he told Motherboard. 

“It’s a fun experiment, so yes. I’d recommend couples to explore the tech as well. In a way it’s interesting to see yourself talk. It makes you reflect on who you are and the decisions you make,” Ludwig said. 

“I do see a future where everybody has personal AI companions across their devices. It will be for a wide range of things: business, fun, gaming—and yeah, couples. Computing is about to get very anthropomorphic. We're not there yet, but it's happening all around us,” Cailliau said.