A caring grandson in China used artificial intelligence (AI) deepfake technology to disguise himself as his late father in a video to comfort his weakened grandmother, who was unaware of her son's death.

A man surnamed Sun from northeastern Liaoning province said his family had hidden the truth from his grandmother after his father died from a rare cancer six months ago.

The 91-year-old woman has a serious heart condition and they feared the news would be too sad for her.

There, they informed her that her son was being treated at a famous hospital in Beijing and had to stay there because of his symptoms.

Sun said she had to use AI technology to “bring her father back to life” because her grandmother kept asking to see him.

The deceased man had been suffering from a rare type of cancer before his death.Photo: Douin

He told her that her father was not allowed to bring his cell phone into the hospital and pretended to have traveled to Beijing to record a video of his father.

Using old photos and face-swapping software, the grandson superimposed his father's face onto his own and imitated his voice.

“Mom, I'm doing well in Beijing. This nasty disease can't be cured, but it can be controlled,” he said in the video.

He first sent the video to his aunt to test its quality before showing it to his grandmother.

Sun said the elderly woman had poor eyesight but was optimistic about life and believed the person in the video was her son.

Sun said making the video meant organizing photos of her father, which she had avoided since his father died.

When he became ill, Mr. Sun took him to dozens of hospitals across China and abroad, and even went to temples to pray to God.

He found it very difficult to accept his father's death. Therefore, the disguise was also a way for him to say goodbye.

A video of him telling the story of the face swap, posted on his Douyin account @Zaixiasancai, has been viewed 5 million times.

“This is the best way to use deepfake technology,” said one online observer.

“Grandma may know better than anyone what happened, but she just wanted some comfort,” said another woman.

In China, it is not uncommon for people to use AI technology to keep relatives from knowing about the death of a loved one.Photo: Shutterstock

“He was grandma's son,” said a third.

This isn't the first time people have lied about a death in the family to protect the feelings of a loved one.

Usually it is the children who hide it from their elderly parents who are not in good health.

There are also cases where parents hide the death of a loved one from their children before taking university entrance exams, so as not to affect their grades.

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