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Real-life Dystopia? Microsoft’s Patent To Reanimate Dead As ‘Chatbots’

Originally published on RT

Microsoft has been granted a patent to “revive” the dead as chatbots, recreating their personality from social postings, writings, and videos to keep their grieving loved ones company. Assuming it doesn’t totally freak them out.

The living-dead chatbot would be fed all available traces of the deceased – their “images, voice data, social media posts, electronic messages,” and other data – in an effort to mimic their personality as closely as possible. Videos would also be used to generate a 2D or 3D model of the person, further adding verisimilitude by incorporating not just their surface appearance but also their behavioral mannerisms.

The patent includes some inventive (and almost certainly cringe-worthy) work-arounds for people who left minimal electronic footprints. For instance, they can be outfitted with a “generic chat index,” which sounds even more depressing than losing the dead person in the first place. And if they’re a famous person who didn’t leave a lot of private recordings to work from? Why, publicly available data – “Wikipedia articles, biographies/autobiographies, print/audio/video news stories, podcasts, etc” – will work just fine.

Assuming the person isn’t one of thousands of public figures Wikipedia editors have taken it upon themselves to smear, of course…

Microsoft’s version seems considerably less high-tech than ‘Black Mirror’s’ walking, talking reanimated boyfriend. Diagrams included with the patent prominently feature smartphone-like user interfaces, which would seriously detract from the illusion of, say, walking hand in hand with one’s dead beau along the beach. However, by locking in the patent at this early stage, Microsoft may be able to squeeze money out of future models even if it doesn’t manufacture them itself.

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Image Credit: IIH Global