Technology can be scary, especially when it intervenes in our lives. From fears that robots will take our jobs, to big tech companies potentially spying on you, it’s safe to say that as a society, we’re extremely wary of the electronic powers that be.
Now it looks like big tech has its sights set on solving one of life’s certainties – death (not taxes, unfortunately).
The bot would comprise of “images, voice data, social media, electronic messages” and other pieces of information collected through social media usage. The patent explains:
“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”
While this does take some of the focus off the idea that Microsoft wants to replicate the dead, it does still sound like Black Mirror episode, “Be Right Back.”
The patent goes on to suggest that the bot could be compiled by users themselves. “The specific person may also correspond to oneself (e.g., the user creating/training the chat bot),” says the patent, making it more of a tool for users.
Bots are problematic in their own right. They add to the trust issues of users in regards to the use of technology when it comes to undermining society. From deepfakes to the spreading of false information, it’s easy to see how the addition of tech that can mimic real (and fictional) people could be a huge problem.
Needless to say, if technology continues to advance at this pace, Charlie Brooker is going to have to go back to focusing on Gameswipe.
Of course, just because a patent has been filed, doesn’t mean that Microsoft has plans to use the tech. Hopefully this has been done just to prevent others from using the idea.
How do you feel about Microsoft potentially creating chatbots which emulate the dead?
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Featured Image Credit: Netflix/Channel 4