Microsoft patents tech that will let you chat will dead people
If you had to say one last thing to your grandpa or your cat before they passed away, what would it be? Well, Microsoft has patented a technology, which if implemented will enable people to have full-blown conversations with people who are long gone.
The patent titled “Creating a conversational chatbot of a specific person” that was filed back in 2017 and granted this month talks about creating a ‘conversational chatbot of a specific person' that would access social data, which includes images, voice data, social media posts, electronic messages, and written letters among others, to create or modify a special index in the theme of the specific person's personality.'
The patent says that all of these details will be used to ‘train the chatbot to train the chatbot in the personality of that specific person.' Furthermore, the patent says that in some cases a 2D or 3D model of a specific person may be generated using images, depth information and the video data associated with the specific person.
To put it simply, the chatbot will interact with you like your long lost friend or relative, which is both disturbing and a bit Black Mirror-esque. It's also scary because in wrong hands this technology can wreak havoc. Thankfully, Microsoft has no plans of building this chatbot from the ground up.
Ya, I get it, no worries. At any rate, confirmed that there's no plan for this. But if I ever get a job writing for Black Mirror, I'll know to go to the USPTO website for story ideas.— Tim O'Brien (@_TimOBrien) January 22, 2021
Microsoft's General Manager of AI Program in a set of tweets clarified that he isn't aware of any plans that include bringing this chatbot to life.
I'm looking into this - appln date (Apr. 2017) predates the AI ethics reviews we do today (I sit on the panel), and I'm not aware of any plan to build/ship (and yes, it's disturbing)— Tim O'Brien (@_TimOBrien) January 22, 2021
He also admitted that this tech does sound a bit ‘disturbing'.