Microsoft Patent Reaches Beyond Death to Pseudo-Reincarnation

By IPWatchdog
February 9, 2021

“The tool would cull ‘social data’ such as images, social media posts, messages, voice data and written letters from the selected loved one or individual. That data would be used to train a chatbot to “converse and interact in the personality of the specific person.”

https://depositphotos.com/43807431/stock-photo-halloween.htmlReports surfaced last week that Microsoft was granted a patent in December for a way to allow people to have conversations with loved ones after they’re deceased. The tech company filed a patent application in 2017 for a tool that could make it possible to have a virtual conversation via a chatbot with a “past or present entity … such as a friend, a relative, an acquaintance, a celebrity, a fictional character, a historical figure.” Further, the patent indicates that the chat would use imagery to “mold a personality alongside a 3D model of its real-life counterpart using letters and images.”

The tool would cull “social data” such as images, social media posts, messages, voice data and written letters from the selected loved one or individual. That data would be used to train a chatbot to “converse and interact in the personality of the specific person.” It could also rely on outside data sources, in case the user asked a question of the bot that couldn’t be answered based on the person’s social data.

“Conversing in the personality of a specific person may include determining and/or using conversational attributes of the specific person, such as style, diction, tone, voice, intent, sentence/dialogue length and complexity, topic and consistency,” as well as using behavioral attributes such as interests and opinions and demographic information such as age, gender and profession,” the patent states.

Scott Schaffer, Chief Information Security Officer for Blade Technologies, told FOX2 Now that someone who has a bigger digital footprint will be a better conversationalist, and that one researcher described the chatbots as being a “shadow” of a person.

Too Disturbing?

Tim O’Brien, Microsoft’s general manager of AI programs, confirmed in a tweet on Friday that ” there’s no plan for this.” In a separate tweet, he also echoed the sentiment of other internet users commenting on the technology, saying, “yes, it’s disturbing.” While Microsoft doesn’t have plans to create a product from the technology, the patent does indicate that the possibilities for artificial intelligence have advanced from robots to creating virtual models of real people.

The patent application was filed in April 2017, which O’Brien said on Twitter predates the “AI ethics reviews we have today.” These days, the company has an Office of Responsible AI and an AI, Ethics, and Effects in Engineering and Research Committee, which help to oversee its inventions.

 

Image Source: Deposit Photos
Author: Rangizzz
Image ID: 43807431

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Discuss this

There are currently 5 Comments comments. Join the discussion.

  1. Jonathan R Stroud February 9, 2021 1:05 pm

    There are already companies that are trying to do this (not Microsoft). So maybe a zealous Patent Agent and sure, weird, but I dunno if it’s great to lean into this whole odd Internet Bill-Gates-Microchip meme.

  2. Jonathan R Stroud February 9, 2021 1:07 pm

    And yeah a short Internet search shows a few apps (and a lot of stories sensationalizing this one patent app).

  3. Pro Say February 9, 2021 4:04 pm

    The possibilities boggle the mind . . .

    Long past time to bring back . . . Ronald Reagan . . . John Kennedy . . . Abraham Lincoln.

    For the good of America — and indeed the world.

  4. resjud2882 February 10, 2021 2:04 pm

    Lord no! If I were “resurrected” based on my online presence, I would be nigh unrecognizable to my family and friends. Online is but a small sliver of who I am, and is the portion that is not connected to those I actually care about.

  5. Anon February 10, 2021 4:57 pm

    Excellent point there, resjud.

    In an immediate sense, i brook far less CRAP on line (and deal more surreptitiously with those harboring the CRAP off line).

    Different media channels require different applications of skills sets that may not even fully overlap.

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