Social media users opened a floodgate of memes after Microsoft filed a patent to build a chatbot that would mimic dead people by using their voice data and personal information. The development reminded users of Black Mirror; a popular tech-fiction show that largely depicted admonitory tales of technology.
Microsoft was granted the patent for what it described as a bot created using the "images, voice data, social media posts, electronic messages." The chatbot would be able to mimic human conversation with the help of voice commands and/or text chats.
However, Microsoft has taken the concept a step further by suggesting that a 2D or 3D model of a specific person could potentially be created, using "images and depth information, or video data" of an individual in order to build a chatbot that has the same characteristics and behaviour based on the digital output of a specific person.
"The specific person [who the chatbot 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 stated. "The specific person may also correspond to oneself [e.g., the user creating/training the chatbot.]"
Apart from this, the tech giant also raised the possibility of creating 2D or 3D models of certain people through images and depth information, or video data. Last October, rapper Kanye West gifted his wife Kim Kardashian a hologram of her deceased father Robert Kardashian on her 40th birthday. The hologram that addressed Kardashian directly for nearly 2.30 minutes divided people on Twitter.
Microsoft's patent reminded many of the Black Mirror episode Be Right Back, in which a grieving wife tries an online service that allows her to interact with a chatbot that mimics her deceased husband. The episode served as a poignant reminder about how technological advancements can prove both beneficial and detrimental.
The development also sparked Black Mirror memes on Twitter with many questioning Microsoft's move. Black Mirror was trending on the microblogging site.
"Saw Black Mirror and thought that we will finally get a new season, but it's only an episode brought to life by Microsoft," one Twitter user wrote.
"Slowly but surely the world is turning Black Mirror episodes into reality," tweeted another user.
"Someone at Microsoft watched Black Mirror and mistook the warning for a manual..... again. *sigh*" wrote another Twitter user.