New ‘future self’ chatbot revolutionises life planning

MIT’s new chatbot that creates a ‘future self’ provides an innovative use case for AI.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed an AI chatbot that engages users in conversations with their future selves, aiming to promote thoughtful decision-making on health, finances, and career paths. By simulating an individual’s older self and drawing from synthetic memories, ‘Future You’ encourages users to consider their long-term aspirations and make informed choices in the present.

The process towards creating your chatbot has two main components. First, users initiate conversations by providing personal information, then, they upload a portrait image, digitally aged to depict their future selves. The chatbot utilises this data to generate coherent responses, leveraging OpenAI’s GPT3.5 language model to facilitate meaningful exchanges. The user’s new generated persona can give advice and reflect on their life to provide insights into the user’s future.

Why is this chatbot useful?

Users are told the ‘future self’ is not a prediction but rather a potential future self based on the information they provided. They are encouraged to explore different futures by changing their answers to the questionnaire. After several conversations with his ‘future self’, MIT Media Lab’s Pat Pataranutaporn reported his most profound discussion was when the chatbot reminded him to spend time with his parents, as they would not be around forever.

In a preprint scientific paper, the MIT project has shown promise in alleviating anxiety and fostering a stronger connection to one’s future self, empowering individuals to pursue specific goals, adopt healthier habits, and plan for their financial future. Behavioural science experts commend the project’s innovative approach, emphasising the potential of such tools to influence beneficial decision-making by making the future self more salient and relevant to the present.