storyfile

storyfile

Photo courtesy of StoryFile

A month after she died at the age of 87, Marina Helen Smith spoke at her own funeral.

Smith, the co-founder of the U.K.’s National Holocaust Centre and Museum, addressed her friends and family last week through a prerecorded video. Yet Smith was able to answer some questions during the memorial service, too. After her son, Stephen Smith, asked what she’d say at her funeral, she delivered a brief speech about her life and spirituality. She also answered questions about loved ones who attended the ceremony, creating the illusion of a real-time conversation.

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In April, the two living survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre sat down for an interview designed to archive their stories using artificial intelligence.

StoryFile, a Los Angeles startup that creates AI-powered interactive videos, prepared the questions. The company usually invites guests to its Hollywood studio; Star Trek actor William Shatner spent five days there in March answering questions before a camera.

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What began as a project to preserve the experiences of Holocaust survivors is now expanding to include a range of historical figures, and everyday heroes.

StoryFile announced last week it raised $2 million in funding, and expects to receive more in the coming months.

The Los Angeles based company developed from CEO and founder Heather Maio-Smith's desire, in 2009, to have a conversation with a Holocaust survivor. With her background in design for immersive experiences she knew she could figure out the technology to make it happen.

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