Microsoft Wants To Build Chatbots Out Of Dead People's Data

Illustration for article titled Microsoft Wants To Build Chatbots Out Of Dead People's Data
Image: Star Wars: Rogue One

Black Mirror is satire. I thought we were all on the same page with this.

As The Independent reports, Microsoft has been granted a patent on some tech that would allow the company to use people’s (or even fictional people’s) online footprint, looking for stuff like “images, voice data, social media posts [and] electronic messages, and then build a chatbot out of it.


There are also provisions for people being able to train a bot made of themselves.

The patented technology would be able to create the bot out of either a “past or present entity. The latter is problematic in its own right, since there are ten bad reasons for every good one when it comes to simulating a conversation with a person who, by virtue of being alive, could be doing the talking for themselves.

And the former is just...look, this kind of stuff has been and will forever be incredibly fucked up. Let the dead rest, and spare the living the torment.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs


Faux Bravo

Not gonna lie, I’d be super interested in talking to a “me” chat bot. I can also envision a portion of the population doing it, and taking it as seriously as tarot and astrology and whatnot--not doing anything without first talking to their chat bot. Yikes.