Microsoft nabs patent that could turn the deceased into AI chatbots

Grieving might look a bit different in the future. Microsoft has gone full Black Mirror mode and secured a patent that turns dead people into AI chatbots. WTF?

The patent, titled “Creating a conversational chatbot of a specific chatbot of a specific person,” describes a system that would access “images, voice data, social media posts, electronic messages” to “create or modify a special index in the theme of the specific person’s personality.”

In some cases, the audio-visual data could be used to create a 3D model, a sort of interactive memorial to the deceased person. The patent also suggests that “that living users could train a digital replacement in the event of their death.” Sound familiar?

black mirror microsoft
Season 2, Episode 1 of Black Mirror: Be Right Back (Photo: Netflix)

Like many others in the Twitter-verse, the theories floating around this patent bear striking resemblance to the plot of Black Mirror’s first episode of the season 2, Be Right Back.

The story revolves around a young woman (Hayley Atwell) whose boyfriend, Ash Starmer (Domhnall Gleeson), is killed in a car accident. The woman then decides to use AI technology to resurrect her dead boyfriend so that she can continue communicating with him.

However, Tim O’Brien, general manager of AI programs at Microsoft, confirmed on Twitter that interactive memorials and living replacements were definitely not on the cards (for now).