March 24, 2021
Customer service chatbots have become commonplace as more businesses move online and automate customer service. Yet Microsoft has envisioned a different sort of chatbot altogether – one that would allow users to communicate with those who have passed on.
The company has ultimately said that it has no plans to develop the product based on the patent, but the idea has nevertheless remained implanted in the minds of tech lovers, and industry watchers.
To be clear, the technology does not actually allow users to converse with the dead, but rather trains a bot to take on the persona of someone who has passed, by scouring the internet to collect all of the information it can about the deceased person.
This involves pulling content from social media accounts and finding photos and videos of the deceased. At the very least, the technology is a reminder that, while we may not live forever, our online data will.
Authors: Emma Baumann and Meghan King