Sunday, February 14, 2021

Intellectual property relating to communicating with the dead

U.S. patent number 10,853,717 [Application Number 15/484,470] was granted by the U.S. Patent Office on 1 December 2020 for creating a conversational chat bot of a specific person. This patent grant is currently assigned to Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC.

The first claim of the '717 patent states:

A system comprising: at least one processor; and memory coupled to the at least one processor, the memory comprising computer executable instructions that, when executed by the at least one processor, performs a method for creating and interacting with a conversational chat bot of a specific entity, the method comprising:

receiving a request associated with a specific entity; accessing social data associated with the specific entity, the social data comprising at least one of: images of the specific entity, voice data for the specific entity, conversational data associated with the specific entity, and publicly available information about the specific entity; using the social data to create a personality index, wherein the personality index comprises personality information for the specific entity; using the personality index to train a chat bot to interact conversationally using the personality information of the specific entity; receiving, by the chat bot, dialogue; generating, by the chat bot, a response to the dialogue using a hierarchical data traversal process to collect response data from one or more data sources accessible to the personality index, wherein collecting the response data comprises: determining, by the chat bot, the personality index does not comprise data for addressing one or more parts of the dialogue; composing, by the chat bot, one or more questions to address the data not comprised in the personality index; and providing, to a user interacting with the chat bot, the one or more questions.

One notes that there is no limitation that the "specific entity" be alive.

From the specification:

For instance, a personalized personality index may comprise social data relating to a deceased relative of a user. Although the social data may comprise information from the lifetime of the deceased relative, the social data may not comprise information related to a time period after the lifetime of the deceased relative. As a result, a set of data acquisition rules may be generated for (or assigned to) the personalized personality index. The set of data acquisition rules may provide instructions for acquiring data related to various time periods of the deceased relative's lifetime (e.g., before, during and/or after the lifetime). Such instruction may include asking a user questions about a time period, one or more events and/or people, or asking a user where such information may be obtained. In such an example, such questions may indicate the specific person represented by the personalized personality index (e.g., the deceased relative) possesses a perceived awareness that he/she is, in fact, deceased.

There have been references to "Dark Mirror."

One notes one 2017 episode of "Murdoch Mysteries" entitled "8 Footsteps" revolves around a PATENT on a device to communicate with the dead (circa 1900). See reviews thereof at .

See the 2016 post by Natalie Zarrelli titled Dial-a-Ghost on Thomas Edison's Least Successful Invention: the Spirit Phone Building devices to talk with the dead was a popular diversion for inventors in the 1920s link:

which includes text

Edison’s idea became known as a “spirit phone”, and caused a media storm. For years many historians believed the invention to be a joke or a hoax; no blueprints or prototypes of a spirit phone could be found. But while he may not have actually contacted the dead, there is evidence he experimented with the idea. In 2015 the French journalist Philippe Baudouin found a rare version of Edison's diary in a thrift store in France. This version includes a chapter that was not printed in the widely known 1948 English edition, called the Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison. This missing chapter was dedicated to his theory of the spirit world, and how it might be possible to contact it. Baudouin re-published the French edition as Le Royaume de l'au-delà.



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