Microsoft could create chatbots based on real people past or present, according to new patent

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Microsoft has filed a new patent for developing an intelligent system that uses data generated by people to create chatbots of real people. It appears that the AI-powered chatbots could analyze voice data, electronic messages, social media posts, images, and other personal information to emulate people (via The Independent).

As pointed out in the documents, the company notes that it aims to create chatbots that would facilitate a simulated human-like conversation with people via text messages or voice commands. Interestingly, the technology will essentially analyze the pictures of people to create 2D or 3D images of specific people. The end product may feature almost identical characteristics and behavioral traits of people past or present.

In addition to this, users will be able to train the model to imitate their character. Imagine that their family/friends will be able to stay in touch and chat with them even after their death, and this proposed system could help preserve the memories of loved ones. The company’s patent explains this in a little further detail, saying that:

"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.," the patent reads. "The specific person may also correspond to oneself (e.g., the user creating/training the chat bot."

While the patent seems to be a bit of science fiction, the reality is that the patent seems to be in line with the idea of a television show Black Mirror. In one of its episodes titled "Be Right Back," a young woman uses a similar technology to communicate with her deceased husband via a chatbot.

Overall, it’s certainly an interesting technique; however, as this is just a patent right now, it should be worth noting that it might not even see the light of day. There are still a significant amount of questions that remain around Microsoft’s history with chatbots. We remind you that the company’s Zo chatbot made headlines back in 2016 on the internet for its bad comments about Windows 10. Similarly, another chatbot Zo was the talk of the internet for making some questionable claims about the Qur’an a couple of years ago.

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