Walter Mercado is back, courtesy of AI. He can wish you ‘mucho, mucho amor’ — for a fee

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By Sarah Moreno | Miami Herald (TNS)

Celebrity Latin Astrologer Walter Mercado, pictured on Aug. 19, 2005, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (A-Media | | TNS)

Who doesn’t miss hearing Walter Mercado wish them “mucho, mucho amor” (much, much love)? The Puerto Rican astrologer, artist, dancer and media personality now returns as an avatar, thanks to artificial intelligence, to fill the void he left when he died on Nov. 2, 2019.

Now his fans can receive personalized messages from Walter Mercado on the Cameo platform, which features his voice, his likeness, and his many ornate capes (he had over 1,000), which will change with the season.

“My uncle Walter always made you feel, when you spoke to him, that at that moment you were the only person in the universe,” his nephew, Dr. Miguel Benet told el Nuevo Herald. As a doctor, Benet says he has experienced the advances of artificial intelligence in his own field and said why not apply it to give a boost to people’s spirits.

“He had a way of listening that could capture what the person needed, and he would give them a message of support. He convinced people that they have the power to form their own path,” Benet said.

Mercado’s avatar was launched Nov. 2, a date that not only marks his death, but the Day of the Dead, “such a special date to celebrate life and honor our loved ones,” said the press statement.

Walter Mercado was an eternally young soul who used to respond to the question of how old he was with the response: “I am between 50 years old and death.”

Those who appreciated his advice and predictions can now receive messages from him in English and Spanish on Cameo, a platform which unites millions of fans with celebrities and pop culture personalities who send personalized videos to fans for a fee.

“They enter their personal data, and Walter’s team receives that information to form the individual avatar,” Benet explained, indicating that this avatar is then sent to the person’s cell phone.

The personalized messages will cost $99, and Benet hopes his followers will also send them as gifts to friends and loved ones.

To compose the messages, DeepReel AI uses the abundant material left by Mercado, which is collected electronically.

Mercado’s avatar will also give a daily general horoscope on the astrologer’s social networks, starting Nov. 6.

“At first we want to bring a message to lift the person’s spirits, and in the future we will include horoscopes, but that entails more work,” said Benet. He is the son of Aida, the eldest of Walter’s four nieces including Dannette, Betty and Ivonne Benet Mercado, who have continued their work writing horoscopes for publications including el Nuevo Herald.

The family has launched several projects that have kept Walter Mercado’s name present, such as T shirts with his signature phrase, “Mucho, mucho amor,” which were sold in 2021 in stores like Old Navy. Also after his death, the astrologer was part of a digital campaign to encourage Latinos to vote.

Bad Bunny also did his part to keep Mercado’s memory alive, shouting him out in one of his songs from the album El último tour del mundo.

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