• Jonathan Shiek

Microsoft Wants To Bring You Back From The Dead…As A Bot

Microsoft has filed a patent which raises the scary possibility of digitally reincarnating people…as a chat bot.

Instead of training chat bots using conversations and material from a wide sample of users, Microsoft’s patent – as spotted by Ubergizmo – raises the possibility of creating a chat bot from the output of a specific person.

The idea mirrors the plot of ‘Black Mirror’ episode “Be Right Back,” in which a widow starts chatting to a bot-version of her deceased husband via a service provided by a fictional tech firm.

The system would use “social data” such as “images, voice data, social media posts, electronic messages [and] written letters” to build a profile of a person.

Furthermore, a chat bot may also converse and interact in the personality of a specific person. ”The chat bot could even sound like the real person. “In some aspects, a voice font of the specific person may be generated using recordings and sound data related to the specific person,” the patent claims.

What’s more, if the chat bot doesn’t have enough data to provide an answer on a specific topic, crowd-sourced conversational data may be used to fill in the gaps, which is almost literally putting words in people’s mouths.

Yikes, Grandma. Who taught you that word? 

But according to an article by Barry Collins on Forbes, the idea of reincarnating people as chat bots obviously raises all manner of privacy implications that aren’t discussed in the patent.

For example, will people be given the right to opt out of such a system? Would the relatives of the dead be able to prevent others from turning their deceased loved ones into chat bots?

But Microsoft doesn’t have the answers yet, until they (or someone else) delivers a working prototype.

What do you think?

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