Here’s how the technology would work if it were in fact built into a product. According to the patent information, the tool would cull “social data” such as images, social media posts, messages, voice data and written letters from the chosen individual. That data would be used to train a chatbot to “converse and interact in the personality of the specific person.” It could also rely on outside data sources, in case the user asked a question of the bot that couldn’t be answered based on the person’s social data.
“Conversing in the personality of a specific person may include determining and/or using conversational attributes of the specific person, such as style, diction, tone, voice, intent, sentence/dialogue length and complexity, topic and consistency,” as well as using behavioral attributes such as interests and opinions and demographic information such as age, gender and profession, the patent states.
Maybe this blog will be able to continue to have posts from me when I’m dead. Posts created by a Microsoft bot that can mimic the “style, diction, tone, voice, intent, sentence/dialogue, length and complexity, topic and consistency.”
I’m joking of course, but Microsoft didn’t patent this so it could sit on the shelf forever. They will use this in some type of product, despite saying otherwise.
Don’t fall for the whole “it’s disturbing” bit. Tech companies will trade socially unacceptable behavior if it promises huge profits. Just look at Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. They have championed a level of privacy intrusion using advertising that is unprecedented and meanwhile, we’re all the dumber because we keep using their “free” products and services. Yeah, not being a hypocrite, we have traded our privacy to use their services, too.
If this chatbot tech can be used to make a buck, it will … someday. Otherwise, why patent the tech to begin with? To stop Google and others from doing it? I’m sure the R&D at Micro$oft is behind the scenes working on something, as I write this. If I had to guess, I’d say probably in the form of a videogame for the Xbox platform. Imagine being able to clone your gameplay attributes and others can play against an AI like you when you’re offline. Not dead, but just not playing. Your character could continue to play 24/7 365 and you would only have to pilot your character here and there. Your artificial persona could grind that MMORPG while you’re at work.
I see all sorts of tech possibilities with this type of AI. And it doesn’t have to involve replicating a dead person in a chatbot.
The article mentions a Black Mirror episode where a woman speaks to her deceased relative. I keep returning to Upload, though, that TV series on Amazon where you can upload your consciousness before you die, thus living in a virtual hotel. That makes more sense to me as a way for the tech to become more socially acceptable. Whether or not this comes to pass in my lifetime remains to be seen, but don’t think for a second that many tech companies are trying to be the first in the race to crack the riddle of AI.
Upload Season 2 is currently filming with no release date announced as of yet, season 1 is available for binge watching on Amazon Prime Video.
“We’re right in the middle of writing it so I don’t want to get into too many specifics in case the plans change,” Greg continued. and”But there’s going to be a lot more new tech, we’re going to find out more about the ‘Luds’ and their community.”
More new tech. Oh, yeah! We need these phones with the floating tech displayed in the show — right now.
In my review of the first season, I highlighted more of the tech, but if you haven’t seen this show on Amazon Prime yet, what are you waiting for? It’s more than just eye candy for those who love futuristic tech, it has some truly believable tech, which is part of what made me enjoy it so much.
You think back to the 60s Star Trek and some of that tech hat might have seemed impossible at the time and 50+ years later we have some of it, particularly the communicators and GPS positioning.; ,
Recently, I started watching The Orville on Hulu. I’ve only seen the first two episodes of the first season but like what Seth Macfarlane has cooking there so far. Too early for me to gauge the use of tech in that show, but it’s an important part of what makes sci-fi movies and TV fun.
It’s great seeing that Greg Daniels and his team are doing some deep thinking on the tech for season 2. There has been no date announced for when we might see season two, but remain hopeful it can be at some point in 2021. We need the Bill & Ted phone booth to beam into the future and watch the future seasons of Upload.’
What futuristic tech would you like to see explored in Upload and/or other sci-fi shows?
Of the new TV series watched in the last year, there are only two that I really wanted to see greenlighted for at least one more season. Harley Quinn The Animated Series which is working through season two right now and Upload, which just debuted on 5/1/2020.
Upload is the real science fiction deal. Read my detailed review for thoughts, but I’m going to expand even further here while collecting what others have to say in their reviews before this post closes.
As with all these review compilations and critiques, this is pure spoiler territory, so if you haven’t seen Upload yet and you have any interest in doing so, then go check it out and come back. Bookmark this post or use the tag Upload to find your way back. Easy, peasy.
… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …
But murder isn’t the only way the show feels dystopian. There are the microtransactions, yes, but at one point Nathan tours the “two gig” section of the hotel, where poor people with extremely limited data plans sit around in blank rooms doing nothing but reading the first five pages of “free trial” books, and when their data runs out, they’re frozen in place until someone can pay to reactivate them. It’s all goofy, but eerily plausible, as you can imagine that’s how this tech might work if it did exist.
This has a lot of rewatch value, if only to check out all the ideas for 2033 future. Some of them are ridiculous, some implausible, and others believable.
The middle changes gears – and hints at season two
I like how the first season middle actually took some risks and explored some plot changes rather than just going into subplot mode. The whole idea of downloading being actively worked on gives viewers the idea that maybe Nathan can come back. Maybe he and Nora could someday be together.
Review by Others
What do others think about Upload?
But Why Tho? Geek Community / Gabby Martin: “…a quality series with a balance of humor and mystery. Greg Daniels and his team have found a way to incorporate a Sims-like digital afterlife setting, all the silly hijinks humor we’ve missed from the Suite Life of Zack and Cody, with the social commentary of Black Mirror and classic whodunit mystery elements.”
Christian Douglass: “There were also a few unexpected moments of light gore, which weren’t especially bad, they just didn’t seem to totally gel with the type of show Upload is, and I think that’s what put me off about them more than anything. So, be prepared for that, but otherwise, I recommend adding Upload to your watchlist because it’s a clever, funny mystery with an upbeat feel”
Clint Worthington / Consequence of Sound: “…the show has good bones in an engaging lead, some spirited supporting characters, and a clear eye towards investigating the implications of a world where you can take your money with you when you die, but it’ll only take you so far. It’s not all successful yet, and the overarching techno-thriller subplots aren’t as interesting as the shenanigans in Lakeview, but I’ll take something corny and earnest over wearisome self-seriousness.”
Den of Geek / Nick Harley: “…isn’t without its merits, but you can glean most of what it has to offer from the pilot. For those that stick through the entire 10-episode season, you’ll likely be wishing there was an option for an in-app upgrade to unlock a more compelling lead and central mystery.”
Dewey Singleton: “…is one of the best new series of 2020. The show is tons of fun and will likely spur conversations that some usually might avoid.”
GEEKS OF COLOR: “…is very funny. This to be expected with someone like Greg Daniels captaining, but the humor is surprisingly different from that of The Office or Parks and Recreation.”
Holding Life Liable: “…may be worth to watch, but not as binge-series even though each episode only lasted for 30 minutes or less.”
The Game Of Nerds / Russ Millheim: “… is an impressive show, one that I think will be one of Amazon Studio’s top showcases. It’s funny, engrossing, and emotional—all while being held up by its incredible cast and inventive and devilishly smart creative team”
Tracy Low / Tracy’s Screen Blog (4/5): “…is highly recommended for those who want a series that can take you out of this world.”
Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: “Most binge worthy shows that release all of their episodes at one usually have a season arc that is completely wrapped up with only a hint or two of what is to come. Upload pushed a cliffhanger on us mid story.”
Ben / Middle Of The Row: “As much as I liked most of it, the horrendous ending of the season – and the direction it appears to be headed towards in the possible second outing – kind of ruin the experience as a whole. Who knows though, maybe the writers for season two will make some equally bizarre decisions to get it back on track? I sure hope so.”
Connor Fahy / Tower City Media: “In fact most of the show does not fully work. It has great satire and themes, but with no characters to really latch onto, and plot that is too all over the place and not fully explored.”
Good Nerd, Bad Nerd: “When a season’s worth of character growth takes place over 2-3 episodes, it feels like the show is rushed and doesn’t expect to be around for season 2.”
SANCTUARY / Clanhub: “I liked some of the non-slapstick humor, the somewhat dystopic setting and that it questions some of our reliance on technology. Also, the use of product placement, streaming and the hinted existence of a Luddite movement as social commentary was interesting.”
Linked above and wondering what would be the cool thing to do next? Commenting once in awhile is always good (I like reader and other blogger interaction). If you have the trackback/pingback come to your site then just approve it because after people read your review then they can come here and follow links and read someone else’s review. What comes around goes around and sharing is the ultimate “thank you!” on the internet.
Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie/TV-related/review blog and I’ll follow.
Just 10 days after release, Amazon has made a great move and renewed this fantastic TV series for a second season.
“In Upload, Greg Daniels delivered a smart, cinematic comedy crackling with intrigue and it has clearly delighted our customers who have spent a lot of time in Lakeview this past week,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, “We know our global fans want to see the next chapter with Nathan and Nora so we are greenlighting Season Two and are excited that Greg’s passion project has found such a devoted audience.”
Just got done binge-watching the first season of Upload [FIRST LOOK]
My mini non-spoiler review is go watch it ASAP. Because the show is linear and new episodes spoil prior episodes, similar to the show 24, though not as action-oriented and there is no Jack Baeur. But there is an exciting look at one not completely impossible future with some realistic — and unrealistic — future tech explored.
Once you’ve seen the series, then come back and we can discuss this excellent series and the wondrous technology.
For those that have also seen Upload, or don’t care about spoilers, let’s dig into this show.
… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …
Episode 1 – “Welcome to Upload” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Air date: May 1, 2020 Run time: 45 minutes
Following a self-driving car accident, Nathan’s brain is uploaded and he must adjust and adapt to his new virtual afterlife. He is assisted by a real life customer service assistants named “Angels.” Nora is his first angel and Nathan begins to form an attraction to her.
Peeing games! OK, this is juvenile, but when Nathan realizes whenever he urinates it programatically always makes it into the urinal.
For men, anyway, this is hilarious!
The virtual world sci-fi is done well. Lakeview by Horizon is the virtual rental home. Watching 50 First Dates. Dig the self-driving smart cars:
Seems like these cars do not follow Asimov’s famous Three Laws of Robotics. Nathan decides to go into driver-assist mode and uses a game controller to weave in and out of lanes.
Yup, police drones to the rescue … and traffic law enforcement. Love it!
We then meet Ingrid, Nathan’s overly preppy rich girlfriend. Not even his business patner, Jamie, likes Ingrid. They have dinner and then sex in the self-driving car. Then on the way home Nathan’s car ignores his warnings and runs into an illegally parked truck. At the hospital, Ingrid encourages him to not roll the dice on ER going badly for repairing a punctured lung and just uploading instead so they “can be together forever.”
The Uploading process is a bit more grim than you might expect.
Why does a laser need to cut off the person’s entire head?
I would think the actual process would be less horrific, but suppose this was done for extra comedic effect. I’ll give them that.
The rest of the episode primarily involves Nathan getting acquainted with Lakeview, the Upload resort community. He has a thermostat switch on the wall that turns outside from Summer to Winter (snow, ice, the works). Pretty nifty stuff and standard VR background magic.
Nathan doesn’t have the password for his Horizon account. Ingrid is controlling and paying for charges, so she has everything notifying her of charges. Seems oddly possessive and controlling. I don’t like Ingrid.
Nathan gets a bit suicidal in the end, threatening to jump into the bitstorm that immediately disintegrates Uploads that go into it. Nora must talk him out of it.
Great, fun episode. This did what a pilot should do: draw us in. Loved the technology displayed. A lot of very little detail technology to look for Easter egg style in this episode. Rewatch and see if you can spot everything (hint: microwave, bicycles, more).
Episode 2 – “Five Stars” ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Air date: May 1, 2020 Run time: 29 minutes
Nora has sex with her social dating match Byron who talks up a five-star rating, only he gives her four stars, which pisses her off.
We learn about how Nora’s father’s health is declining and she wants him to upload and go into Lakeview. He is resisting the idea. But in order for Nora to get her employer’s permission to sign off on the upload, she needs at least a 4.8 rating and she’s under that score.
Second episodes are usually a come-down from the intensity of the first/pilot setting us up for more of what a regular episode in the series will be like. This is no exception. Would have liked to see more technology like in the first episode and the father of Nora dying was a bit more depressing than lighthearted and comedic. Still, a good episode, just a noticeable drop off from the first.
Episode 3 – “The Funeral” ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ Air date: May 1, 2020 Run time: 26 minutes
Begins with the first attempted download. Having an Upload transferred back into a body. It seems like it is going well, but it then it doesn’t.
Has a Fly-like feel to it and the head explode is gory fun.
This episode focuses on Nathan attending his own funeral. The best part is the opening sequence. The rest is (too much) of Nathan and his unlikable girlfriend Ingrid. We are beginning to wonder what’s up with Ingrid. It’s like she’s too busy to deal with Nathan. Her character is suspicious already.
Overall another good episode. Nice to see the scientists working to be able to reverse the Upload process.
Episode 4 – “The Sex Suit” ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ½ Air date: May 1, 2020 Run time: 24 minutes
Opens with a billionaire Upload playing golf with Nathan. He makes sure to call in the Arnold Palmer bot to tell him, “Watch this, you piece of shit!” lol. The series is best when it has these little side future tech scenes.
Nathan and Ingrid, again, are the primary focus of the episode. Make a date using the sex suit.
The best part of this episode is the tour with Nora showing Nathan the “two gigs.” This elevator ride takes them down to the cheap seats portion of Lakeview. Two gigs of data per month and then Uploads are frozen in time.
These are Uploads that can’t afford the upgrades and add-ons. Their existence essentially is a dark world in a large hospital-like area where Uploads that run out of money are frozen in time. One guy is near the end of his plan and doesn’t have a penis.
Nathan and Ingrid are interviewed about what it is like being on two different planes of existence (her as a Bio, him as an Upload). They are asked about sex and they haven’t done it yet because Ingrid was grossed out by the sex suit.
This episode shows us how the poor live at Horizon’s Lakeview resort. Those who can afford the upgrades and add-ons do well in the afterlife too. Definitely a capitalistic future.
Tech support during sex is also covered — funny!
Episode 5 – “The Grey Market” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Air date: May 1, 2020 Run time: 28 minutes
A trip to the grey zone to get a 12-year-old boy upload man parts gets screwed up. Meanwhile, Nora gets a file memory fixer and realizes several of Nathan’s memory files were deleted off her computer. Luckily she has the files on her ring drive.
What I liked best about this episode was the underground hackers creating a marketplace for Uploads to mod themselves. They are limited the amount of time they can be off the Lakeview grid before their avatars are corrupted.
Another good episode, recommended!
Episode 6 – “The Sleepover” ⭐️⭐️ ½ Air date: May 1, 2020 Run time: 45 minutes
Nora has a Horizon employee meeting and the Angels must pitch Taco Bell Gordita Crunch to 10 different Uploads. Nathan humorously speeds up the forced pitch.
Nora suspects a greater conspiracy involving Nathan becoming Uploaded.
While some things do happen to advance the plot around Nathan’s corrupt memories, most of it really doesn’t advance the overall story. The side character stories are kind of boring.
Easily my least favorite episode of the first season. You can almost entirely skip it and still be in tune with what happens the rest of the first season. This episode is the only one I’m not recommending to watch.
Episode 7 – “Bring Your Dad to Work Day” ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Air date: May 1, 2020 Run time: 25 minutes
Nora’s dad takes a tour of Lakeview Upload resort with Nathan as his guide. He is hesitant to be uploaded, believing in a spiritual natural death instead. Just as Nora notices there is another user that can admin access Nathan’s avatar vile, someone sets off an explosive on the servers and the Upload avatars in Lakeview are distorted into blocky cartoon characters.
A sugary, sweet daddy and daughter side story with a slight twist ending that I didn’t see coming, but enjoyed. It was nice to see how those with religious beliefs (Heaven we’ll all be together) are explored.
Downsides? Would have been cool to see more of the malfunction scenery. They could have done some hilarious comedy with that, but it just isn’t enough of the episode.
Episode 8 – “Shopping Other Digital After-Lives” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ Air date: May 1, 2020 Run time: 28 minutes
Nora is suspended for fraternizing with Nathan outside of her work responsibilities as an authorized employee (Angel). Her supervisor plays under her Lakeview avatar and confuses Nathan. She explains that 32% of the Uploads become attracted to their angels, but she doesn’t want to pursue anything.
Nathan contacts his mother and asks her to look into other upload resorts instead of Lakeview that are in their price range. Nathan ‘s mom takes his brain on a hard drive to look at other resorts (without the “protective case”).
Some of the other afterlife resorts are pretty wild. My favorite is the all the time casino world called Aeon that looks very much like an aerial view of Las Vegas.
My favorite episode of the first season thus far. It’s got everything, humor, intrigue, some cool science fiction and virtual world effects. Makes me want to take a tour of the virtual worlds.
I’m taking away a half star because I don’t really understand why or how Nathan was ever with Ingrid. The two of them are very incompatible as characters and I’m not sensing any chemistry between them. I get that it works in the story and is necessary, but her character is so overstated and phony stereotypical entitled rich person that it makes Nathan the poor guy just way too opposite to be a plausible relationship — even before the story started.
Episode 9 – “Update Eve” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Air date: May 1, 2020 Run time: 32 minutes
Lakeview is getting a new Operating System (OS) upgrade. The Uploads look forward to the improvements. Meanwhile, Nora’s supervisor is angry that Ingrid went over her head and got her reinstated from her suspension. There is a game contest to find a prize egg with real money and Lakeview bucks for the first Upload that finds it.
Nora and Nathan hatch plan to stay up during the update. The Uploads who don’t go to sleep will (rather conveniently) have blocks in their memory restored automatically by the patch.
This one ends on a mini cliffhanger. What will Nathan remember after the upgrade? What happened to him in the first episode?
Episode 10 – “Freeyond” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Air date: May 1, 2020 Run time: 23 minutes
Nathan awakes with his memory of Nora apparently erased. She is saddened that he doesn’t remember their relationship. What Nathan does remember is his partner, Jamie, and him turning away from a deal that would have made them and their business partners very rich. Ingrid’s father was part of brokering the deal and frustrated that the deal didn’t go through. He tried to bribe Nathan with a house for his mother down the street. Ingrid’s father wanted to buy the code outside of his partners.
The truth is that Nathan does remember, he just realizes that his actions once he fully remembered made him ashamed. Now, Nora is in danger in the real world due to Nathan’s total recall (another sci-fi show nod).
Great action and closing to the season, with Nathan using the last of his newly allotted memory in the afterlife to help Nora.
Summary of Season 1
There have been various attempts to get Virtual Reality off the ground and more mainstream for more than a decade. Most recently we have what Oculus is doing with Facebook, but if we go back in time the technology in some form has been around awhile and hasn’t been able to garner a significant amount of interest. It’s the fringe area where there are an increasing number of fans and early adopters — the kind of techie like me (or like I used to be, when I signed up and tried out every gadget, website, idea and the like) –but we’re still not there yet.
I’d like to think that someday, perhaps it will still be in my life that virtual reality is more seamlessly incorporated in the “real” world. I think that’s been the big problem. There have been a few cases like that hunt for Pokemon game where you could find Pokemon hiding in various real life locations. More of that will be how this happens.
The idea of what it’s like when you’re about to die being uploaded is clever and fascinating. Would we like to live forever essentially in a resort area like this? The idea to me, someone who is on the downward slide of post-50s life and a techie, finds it interesting. Would I do something like this if I could? Yes.
That’s the question this sci-fi show asks you, but does it in a much more subtle way. It doesn’t go the route of breaking Asimov’s laws or Westworld / Jurassic Park (AI technology breakdown), instead it shows largely that the technology does work. That there are still greedy human beings involved, trying to get rich from the tech, but the tech itself, actually, really works.
Although this is all fiction and fantasy and the ability to do something like this probably won’t happen in my lifetime, I’m encouraged by the idea. The best science fiction makes you wonder and think about what might, could, maybe should happen someday. If we could live on without being a burden on finite resources for the living, that is something strongly worth pondering.
The question to answer at the end of every season of a TV series? Should this continue? Should there be another season? Absolutely, yes.
This is one of the best sci-fi TV series I’ve seen in awhile. I will rewatch for those juicy tech nuggets. There are some ideas here, similar to when I first watched Star Trek Original Series (in the early 70s!) and saw the communicators (now we all carry around cell phones that provide the same functionality) that could really, really happen in the not too distant future.
Two things come immediately to mind.
The phones? Yes, makes total sense that we won’t be holding something. Floating User Interfaces (UI) are not that unrealistic. Something has to project them, but that could be from, say, a watch or necklace, perhaps even in glasses (Google glasses, anyone?) that are an augmented reality not requiring a physical “screen” to pull it off.
The cars? Yes, we already have self-driving cars out there. They aren’t nearly as sophisticated as what’s depicted in this series, but they already exist.
In 10 years, 20 years … they will only be more advanced. We would all be safer in the world if the cars were (almost entirely) self-driving, despite some nefarious programming shown in the series.
Come on, Amazon, green light another season. This is excellent. Will be rewatching to see what other little tech tidbits I missed. It’s a geek’s wet dream series.