Science

Microsoft wants the dead to speak

Microsoft has just obtained a patent for a conversational agent that reproduces the way of writing or speaking of a specific person. Artificial intelligence would analyze its messages and posts to create a personality index.

Here is a news reminiscent of an episode of the series Black mirror. Microsoft seems to be thinking about creating an interactive virtual copy of deceased people. The Redmond firm is coming get a patent whose title could be translated as “The creation of a conversational agent of a specific person”.

According to the patent, the system would be based on a artificial intelligence that analyzes the social data of the person, in other words images, voice recordings, publications on social networks, electronic messages, etc. The AI ​​would thus create a personality index, which would be used to train a conversational agent, or chatbot.

An animated avatar in 2D or 3D

The system described could even use the images and videos to create a two or three dimensional avatar and reproduce the voice of the person. It would be a memorial that would give the impression of being alive. This idea is only an extension of deepfake technologies current, which already make it possible to realistically animate a face based on photos. Tim O’Brien, Executive Director of AI Programs at Microsoft, however indicated on Twitter that the firm had no current project on this topic. The patent was filed in 2017 and dates before the establishment of the Aether committee, an ethics committee for AI.

However, such a system would not necessarily be limited to reviving the dead. The patent mentions in particular the use to interact with a younger version of oneself, celebrities, or even historical or fictional figures. Also, more and more courier already suggest ready-made answers thanks to AI. With a fairly advanced system, everyone could create their own personal assistant virtual capable of writing complete replies to messages for it, without being able to distinguish it. Microsoft may not have had a program in the pipeline until now, but that could change with the patent granted.

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