…but they don’t plan on using it in an actual product.
Really? From a tech perspective, this is making me think of the Amazon TV series Upload (see: TV REVIEW: Upload Season 1 – All 10 Episodes Rated and Reviewed)
Here’s how the technology would work if it were in fact built into a product. According to the patent information, the tool would cull “social data” such as images, social media posts, messages, voice data and written letters from the chosen individual. That data would be used to train a chatbot to “converse and interact in the personality of the specific person.” It could also rely on outside data sources, in case the user asked a question of the bot that couldn’t be answered based on the person’s social data. “Conversing in the personality of a specific person may include determining and/or using conversational attributes of the specific person, such as style, diction, tone, voice, intent, sentence/dialogue length and complexity, topic and consistency,” as well as using behavioral attributes such as interests and opinions and demographic information such as age, gender and profession, the patent states.Microsoft patented a chatbot that would let you talk to dead people. It was too disturbing for production – CNN
Maybe this blog will be able to continue to have posts from me when I’m dead. Posts created by a Microsoft bot that can mimic the “style, diction, tone, voice, intent, sentence/dialogue, length and complexity, topic and consistency.”
I’m joking of course, but Microsoft didn’t patent this so it could sit on the shelf forever. They will use this in some type of product, despite saying otherwise.
Don’t fall for the whole “it’s disturbing” bit. Tech companies will trade socially unacceptable behavior if it promises huge profits. Just look at Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. They have championed a level of privacy intrusion using advertising that is unprecedented and meanwhile, we’re all the dumber because we keep using their “free” products and services. Yeah, not being a hypocrite, we have traded our privacy to use their services, too.
If this chatbot tech can be used to make a buck, it will … someday. Otherwise, why patent the tech to begin with? To stop Google and others from doing it? I’m sure the R&D at Micro$oft is behind the scenes working on something, as I write this. If I had to guess, I’d say probably in the form of a videogame for the Xbox platform. Imagine being able to clone your gameplay attributes and others can play against an AI like you when you’re offline. Not dead, but just not playing. Your character could continue to play 24/7 365 and you would only have to pilot your character here and there. Your artificial persona could grind that MMORPG while you’re at work.
I see all sorts of tech possibilities with this type of AI. And it doesn’t have to involve replicating a dead person in a chatbot.
The article mentions a Black Mirror episode where a woman speaks to her deceased relative. I keep returning to Upload, though, that TV series on Amazon where you can upload your consciousness before you die, thus living in a virtual hotel. That makes more sense to me as a way for the tech to become more socially acceptable. Whether or not this comes to pass in my lifetime remains to be seen, but don’t think for a second that many tech companies are trying to be the first in the race to crack the riddle of AI.
Upload Season 2 is currently filming with no release date announced as of yet, season 1 is available for binge watching on Amazon Prime Video.