“Create a chatbot that talks like a specific person”, a patent applied for by Microsoft

By @Alvy – January 23, 2021

Microsoft has introduced the patent application # US010853717 for a system that allows you to converse with a chatbot that “behaves like a specific person.” The idea is to take advantage of all the data of a person (photos, videos, messages, emails, public information, etc.) and “recreate their personality” to talk. According to the patent summary:

This invention describes systems and methods for create a conversational chatbot of a specific person. This is achieved by accessing your social data: images, voice data, social media posts, emails, written letters, etc.) from the specific person. These data can be used to create or modify a thematic index with the personality of a specific individual (…)

The chatbot can be trained to converse with that personality. During such conversations, more data and / or APIs can be used to respond to dialogue and / or questions. A 2D or 3D model of the specific person can also be generated using images and / or video data associated with that person.

The idea is quite straightforward and I suppose it is viable if you have a good volume of data on the person you are trying to “simulate”, especially if it is someone who has spent a good part of their life online leaving fingerprints everywhere. Nowadays AIs learn that it’s outrageous –véase GPT-3– so they can pass that “test” more than enough.

Note that the person does not have to be alive; it might as well be dead. It sounds between interesting and dystopian, a bit in the San Junípero style of Black Mirror or Years and Years. Digital life beyond death.

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