New Patent Could Simulate Human Conversations With The Dead

Microsoft has created a patent that allows the tech giant to create an AI-assisted chatbot using the personal information of deceased people.

The bot, based on the “images, voice data, social media posts, electronic messages” and more, would facilitate a simulated human conversation with users’ dead loved ones.
The new chatbots have drawn comparisons to an episode of Black Mirror starring Hayley Atwell, titled Be Right Back.
In the episode, Atwell plays a woman who pines for her boyfriend, Ash (Domhnall Gleeson), who was killed in a car accident. Driven to desperate measures, Atwell’s character decides to use technology to resurrect her dead boyfriend as artificial intelligence so they can continue to be together. Using a new online service, she uploads all of her boyfriend’s past online communications and social media profiles, which the service uses to create a new virtual “Ash”.

In a statement discussing the bot, Microsoft said

“The specific person [represented in the bot] 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”

Hinting that the technology could be used to communicate with another person once they have died, the statement adds –

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

In regard to the Black Mirror series, creator Charlie Brooker admitted last year that he has taken a break from working on the new season of the show because the fictional world of the series is all too depressingly similar to the reality we’re living in at the moment –

“I’ve been busy doing things. I don’t know what I can say about what I’m doing and not doing. At the moment, I don’t know what stomach there would be for stories about societies falling apart, so I’m not working away on any of those [Black Mirror episodes]. I’m sort of keen to revisit my comic skill set, so I’ve been writing scripts aimed at making myself laugh.”


Last month, Brooker and Annabel Jones shared new Netflix documentary M.