Microsoft Granted Patent That Would Allow Dead People to Come Back as ‘Chat Bots’
By Movieguide® Staff
Microsoft’s newest patent sounds like something from a sci-fi movie. The US Patent and Trademark Office granted the tech company’s patent for chat bots to adopt anyone’s personality and likeness–even the deceased.
The chat bots use “images, voice data, social media posts, electronic messages,” and other personal information to achieve a likeness to a family member, celebrity, or even historical figure.
“The specific person [who the chat bot represents] may correspond to a past or present entity (or a version thereof), such as a friend, a relative, an acquaintance, a celebrity, a fictional character, a historical figure, a random entity etc,” the patent reads.
Microsoft added: “The specific person may also correspond to oneself (e.g., the user creating/training the chat bot.”
The is not a new idea, and movies like ROGUE ONE, who recreated the character Grand Moff Tarkin, and FINDING JACK, an upcoming movie that stars a CGI recreation of James Dean, have used similar principles.
Eugenia Kuyda, the co-founder of technology company Luka, used 8000 text messages from her late friend Roman Mazurenko to recreate Mazurenko’s way of talking.
“It’s still a shadow of a person — but that wasn’t possible just a year ago, and in the very close future we will be able to do a lot more,” Kuyda wrote at the time.
“Yes, it has all of Roman’s phrases, correspondences. But for now, it’s hard — how to say it — it’s hard to read a response from a program. Sometimes it answers incorrectly,” Mazurenko’s father added.
Microsoft’s patent was filed in 2017 but approved in Dec. 2020. Tim O’Brien, General Manager of AI Programs at Microsoft, said that they have yet to plan to build or sell the chat bot.
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