Udayavni Special

Microsoft patents chatbot that speaks to deceased ones virtually

Team Udayavani, Jan 28, 2021, 3:23 PM IST

Source: Unsplash


Microsoft developers have been granted a patent for a chatbot that allows one to have a conversation with a deceased entity (or a version thereof) virtually

According to the filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office, the conversational chatbot would be modeled after a specific person such as a past or present entity be it a friend, relative, acquaintance, celebrity, fictional character, a historical figure by using information that could easily be gathered on social media – images, voice data, behavioral information, social media posts, and text messages. The collected data will be used to train a chatbot to converse in the individual’s personality.

This technology is similar to a fictional app shown in Black mirror, a Netflix series where a character chats with her dead boyfriend by pulling information from his social media.

Echoing sentiments of fellow internet users who termed the technology as ‘disturbing’, Microsoft’s general manager of AI programs, Tim O’Brien in a tweet said that there’s no plan for turning this technology into an actual product.

The patent states that 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. Along with these behavioral attributes such as interests and opinions and demographic information such as age, gender and profession could be used.

The application for the patent was filed in April 2017. Microsoft doesn’t have plans to create a product from the technology but it doesn’t negate the possibility.

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