Chatting With the Dead: Microsoft’s Latest Patent Raises Ethical Concerns


This case invites students to engage their ethical learning to imagine both the positive and negative consequences that may arise from a newly approved Microsoft patent that uses social data to resurrect living, deceased, or fictional persons as digital entities. Although Microsoft has not yet announced a product using this tech, the approved patent raises a host of ethical and privacy concerns, which have already plagued smaller companies that use similar tech to create digital incarnations of the dead. As technological innovation continues to blur the line between science fiction and reality, this case asks students to discuss the role of ethics in the unfolding future.

This case was prepared for inclusion in SAGE Business Cases primarily as a basis for classroom discussion or self-study, and is not meant to illustrate either effective or ineffective management styles. Nothing herein shall be deemed to be an endorsement of any kind. This case is for scholarly, educational, or personal use only within your university, and cannot be forwarded outside the university or used for other commercial purposes.

2023 Sage Publications, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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