In the Black Mirror episode “Be Right Back,” Hayley Atwell’s character communicates with her dead boyfriend through an AI program that used his social media profiles, texts, and videos to essentially resurrect him virtually. Like all things Black Mirror, it’s a cautionary, dystopian tale, which is why people are freaking out over news that Microsoft is developing a chatbot that will basically do everything the episode warned society about. Namely using technology to talk to the freaking dead. Via The Independent:
The patent describes creating a bot based on the “images, voice data, social media posts, electronic messages”, and more personal information.
“The specific person [who the chat bot 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”, it goes on to say.
Once news of Microsoft’s “I Talk To Dead People” chatbot reached Twitter, the reactions started pouring in as folks scrambled to drive home the point that Black Mirror is supposed to provide a warning about the dangers of technology infecting our lives, not hand-deliver an instruction manual for tech companies to point to and say, “Ah, yes, let’s do this. The bleak, creepy thing.”
Quick reminder to all the tech people in the audience. Black Mirror (and dystopian fiction in general) is meant to be a warning rather than a roadmap. https://t.co/Aon4cfZVi7
— Andy Budd (@andybudd) January 22, 2021
We have now progressed from 'this sounds like an episode of Black Mirror' to 'that's literally series 2, episode 1 of Black Mirror' https://t.co/B3XxAgjglW
— Many A True Nerd (@ManyATrueNerd) January 22, 2021
when i’m dead keep me dead i do not want any of this black mirror shit pic.twitter.com/FZvRDCIkhX
— nya🦎🔪 (@babeylizard_) January 22, 2021
I see everyone’s having their monthly ‘it’s like something out of black mirror’ breakdown again. pic.twitter.com/o0R6jq9Qeb
— Rhys James (@rhysjamesy) January 22, 2021
When Black Mirror trends, but it's just Microsoft being all: pic.twitter.com/WBjGiqpAk0
— iain (@Keroffin) January 22, 2021
According to The Independent, the chatbot will also let users create a digital replacement of themselves in preparation for their deaths, which also raises all kinds of ethical questions. Then again, can it field phone calls from your mom? You know what? Let’s see where this goes.
(Via The Independent)