Santa won’t be able to sit with the kids in malls this year, but they can still tell you their Christmas wish list in a video chat at home.
Tech company Storyfile has come up with an artificial intelligence alternative to the Christmas tradition: an interactive website where Santa answers questions as if he were in person.
“The database has around 180,200 questions, so you’ll be able to answer a lot,” said Heather Smith, CEO of Storyfile. “Of course, the number one question so far is, ‘Am I on the bad guys or the good guys? “, He added.
Storyfile typically records on-camera interviews with notable people such as scientists, astronauts, civil rights icons, and Holocaust survivors. Answers are then requested via voice activation in an app to provide near-perfect interaction with the subject.
Storyfile staff tested the app on children before launching AskSanta.com, which will be available until New Years Eve.
“So far the kids are just in awe,” Smith said. “They really think he’s on FaceTime or something with them, which is the point, right? They’re adorable. I love all the reactions,” she added.
Santa has already answered many questions about the pandemic.
“If a child asks me ‘Santa Claus, is there a chance that you will get coronavirus? “And I tell them, like everyone else, I do what I’m supposed to do,” he said.
“I wear my gloves, I wash my hands, I socially distance myself, I put on my mask. I just repeat the important things they hear regularly.”
Depending on the response to the free app, Santa’s skills could be extended to read children’s letters next year.