In a First, Microsoft Patents AI Chatbot that Imitates Dead People
Microsoft’s patented chatbots could bring dead people back to life not as flesh and blood, but as voice.
Remember the time when Martha, played by Hayley Atwell in Black Mirror’s ‘Be Right Back’ gave us all the weird feeling of wanting to talk to a dead person? In the episode, Martha, a young woman whose boyfriend, Ash Starmer (Domhnall Gleeson) was killed in a car accident decided to use technology to resurrect him as a chatbot. Brace yourself! A similar chatbots technology is being patented by Microsoft, which could bring dead people back to life not as flesh and blood, but as voice.
Chatbots are conversational computer program that simulates human conversations using textual and/or auditory input channels. Typically, chatbots are implemented in dialogue systems and natural language processing systems to perform various practical tasks. Recently, businesses are embracing chatbots to enhance their connectivity with company’s customers. However, the simple applications of chatbots are long gone. The next decade is bringing an emotional connect with technology. Chatbots in the upcoming years will implement an intellectual bond between humans and technology. Microsoft is granted with the patent for AI chatbots that lets you interact with dead people.
Remarkably, this is not the first time that such an astonishing innovation came to light. When our loved ones expire, we often keep their things, gifts, etc. as a memory. But tech geeks took it the other way. They designed AI chatbots that could converse exactly like the dead person. Eternime, a company founded in 2014 by Marius Ursache hopes to make people ‘virtually immortal’ by creating a digital avatar of them after they die. The idea popped in Ursache’s mind when a tragedy limbed him. He lost his best friend in a car accident. Ursace designed an app which collects data about the person by automatically harvesting information from smartphone and by asking questions through chatbots. This helps the AI company to develop a chatbot avatar of you after you die. A similar scene took place in Eugenia Kuyda’s life when her close friend Roman Mazurenko died. Kuyda has spent her bereaved time collecting Mazurenko’s old text messages and feeding them to a neural network built by developers at her AI start-up, Replika. This initiative to seek for a companion took the start-up to another level. Standing out from the start-ups is Microsoft, the tech giant that has acquired a patent for the futuristic technology of bringing a dead person alive through chatbots.
Microsoft’s chatbots that could imitate dead people
Microsoft has reportedly put out the information that the company has acquired a patent for the chatbot which imitates dead people. The patent titled ‘Creating a conversational chatbot of a specific person’ claims that by accessing the details of a person like images, voice data, social media posts, electronic messages, etc., the chatbots will be able to create an internal character that reflects on the dead person’s personality. The program will be able to look at pictures of people and create 2D and 3D images to embody the AI program. The specific index may be used to train a Chabot to converse in the personality of the specific person. By doing so, Microsoft will be able to preserve the memory of loved ones in the digital realm forever. The patent mentions Dustin Abramson and Joseph Johnson, Jr as investors. Microsoft initially applied for the patent in 2017, but it was granted this month.