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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Webster

Mum's diary GPT

Updated: Feb 17

At 97, my mother faces the challenges of old age, including complete hearing loss, but she still enjoys reading. I've observed that elderly individuals often take pleasure in reminiscing about the past.

This led me to experiment: could I develop a GPT model that would bring joy to my mother? The result was "Mum's Diary," a customized GPT designed to generate a hypothetical diary page from exactly 50 years ago, incorporating people and events from that time that she knew. It creates a narrative of what she might have done, including a small picture related to the diary content.

How It Works

With this custom GPT, you simply enter the prompt "let's go," along with a picture, and a diary entry that my mother could have written 50 years to the day materializes. It's remarkably straightforward.

Building It Is Simple

To create your custom GPT, you need access to GPT-4 (the paid version) and to follow the provided instructions:

No programming skills are necessary. I specified that I wanted a diary entry reflecting my mother's activities and thoughts from 50 years ago, including interactions with people and typical daily activities. I requested the inclusion of relevant local, national, or global events and their impact on her, alongside background information about her job, family, neighbours, shopping habits, holidays, car, weekend activities, pets, etc:

This is what it looks like (and every time you prompt you get a new page)*:

My Mother's Reaction

It's too early for a definitive opinion, but she is intrigued by the generated content and enjoys reading it. This project has painted a vivid picture of her past activities, proving to be a delightful experience. She has commented on various historical accuracies and discrepancies, which can be easily adjusted by modifying the custom gpt.

Further inquiries into improving the custom GPT (by asking GPT-4 itself) suggested that adding more detailed information relevant to the specific period would enhance the accuracy and reliability of the output. Although some generated storylines may seem repetitive, this doesn't concern me much at the moment. I believe this can be addressed by adjusting the instructions to vary the content generation, which I am currently exploring.

Potential Applications

While this custom GPT is tailored specifically to my mother's life, making it unsuitable for generic use in the GPT store, its concept could benefit others. By inputting personalised details, it could serve as a unique diary for another individual, potentially aiding memory recall and mental stimulation for elderly people either at home or in care facilities. This application of generative AI could add a little something to improve the quality of life for many.


In conclusion, this project exemplifies a simple yet powerful way to utilise generative AI to enhance people's lives. If you found this interesting, please share it with others who might benefit. Should you require assistance in developing a similar GPT, feel free to contact me.


* The complete diary entry for the day:

Diary Entry: February 16th, 1974

Today was a particularly reflective day for me, full of small but significant moments that reminded me of the delicate balance of our daily lives here in Yattendon. The morning air was crisp as I made my familiar walk down to the school, the quiet of the village broken only by the distant sound of Flynn's tractor in the fields and the cheerful greetings from Mr. Peaty as he made his rounds.

In school, the children seemed more spirited than usual, perhaps the result of the recent news that had the whole village talking: the miners' strike and the resulting three-day work week had finally come to an end. Mrs. Gaskell and I had a lengthy discussion about it during our morning break, pondering over the impact it had on the local community and the country at large. It was a relief to know that, for now, the crisis was over, and there was a collective sense of hopeful anticipation for what lay ahead.

After school, I stopped by Mrs. Hogg's post office to pick up a few essentials. The lively barks of her two pugs greeted me before I even stepped inside, bringing a smile to my face. Mrs. Hogg shared the latest gossip as she always does, mentioning that Mr. Behr had decided to host a small celebration at the Royal Oak to mark the end of the power cuts. The community needed something to cheer about, and this seemed like the perfect occasion.

On my walk back home, I couldn't help but marvel at the beauty of our village. The sight of our blue Land Rover parked outside Pound Cottage, with Chilly lounging lazily in the sun nearby, filled me with a deep sense of contentment. Ivan was in the garden, tending to his flowers, a pastime that had become more than just a hobby for him. We exchanged stories of our day over a cup of tea, reflecting on the importance of community and resilience in times of uncertainty.

This evening, as I sit down to write these words, I am reminded of the strength and perseverance that define us, not just as individuals but as a community. The challenges we face, whether they're nationwide crises or personal struggles, have a way of bringing us closer together, strengthening the bonds that tie us to this place we call home.

As I close my diary for the night, I am filled with gratitude for the life we have built here, for the friends and neighbours who enrich our lives in countless ways, and for the simple, enduring pleasures of village life.

Note: Chilly was a pet cat. Just typing in a different date into the prompt generated an entry from a different period.

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