Microsoft Files Patent to Create Chatbots from the Dead

The patent, “Creating a Conversational Chatbot of a Specific Person,” filed last week by Microsoft might sound relatively innocuous, and it probably is, to a certain extent.

“In aspects, social data (e.g., images, voice data, social media posts, electronic messages, written letters, etc.) about the specific person may be accessed. The social data may be used to create or modify a special index in the theme of the specific person’s personality,” reads the patent’s abstract. Essentially, this sounds like Microsoft hopes to better improve its customer service chatbots, as well as future AI assistance along the lines of Alexa, Siri, or its own Cortana (LOL).

That said, the implications for this kind of hyper-specific, digitalized personality mimicry are as varied as they are unsettling. While Microsoft probably (probably) has enough focus-grouped sense and lawyers on retainer to avoid advertising a personal assistant that looks and sounds like your dead grandpa, we can’t say the same for other companies and programmers.

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