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?
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.
Looking forward to seeing Microsoft patent more stuff as they work their way through all of Black Mirror on Netflix.
— Calloway McSmithing (@sespiomatic) January 24, 2021
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.
When Black Mirror trends, but it’s just Microsoft being all: pic.twitter.com/WBjGiqpAk0
— iain (@Keroffin) January 22, 2021
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).
Ya, I get it, no worries. At any rate, confirmed that there’s no plan for this. But if I ever get a job writing for Black Mirror, I’ll know to go to the USPTO website for story ideas.
— Tim O’Brien (@_TimOBrien) January 22, 2021