Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
IT | By Lester Massey

Google Explicate Its Stand On AI Voice Calling System

Google Explicate Its Stand On AI Voice Calling System

Earlier this week, Google CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled Duplex, an artificial intelligence voice technology that sounds jaw-droppingly human.

Google this week showed how its virtual assistant can now call restaurants and salons to book appointments, navigating complex conversations, as it acknowledged that a technological onslaught was leaving users frazzled and needing a cure.

Since the announcement, the tech world has been divided over the technology with many raising concerns over ethics and privacy.

Google Assistant will allow you to query a variety of information to perform everyday tasks, and interact with compatible appliances, e.g. lighting devices.

Responding to the controversy, Google emphasized that transparency will be an important part of the feature. Before this week is over, Google announced that it will send out a disclosure or at least come up with a disclosure built-in. "What we showed at I/O was an early technology demo, and we look forward to incorporating feedback as we develop this into a product", a Google spokeswoman said in a statement. Speaking to Bloomberg, Scott Huffman, an executive on Google's Assistant team, suggested the system could start a call with "I'm the Google assistant and I'm calling for a client".

The company said it would begin testing Duplex more widely "this summer ... to help users make restaurant reservations, schedule hair salon appointments, and get holiday hours over the phone".


And unlike the voices of current AI assistants which give off their robot origins, Duplex sounded natural.

Professor Abbass says AI Duplex collects human voice signatures that continue to train the robot and even its own voice seems to be a synthesis of one or more human voices.

It's unclear how Google intends to make those disclosures.

That LG plans to implement support for Google's Assistant, it became known in the beginning of this year. The feature kicks in when users ask the Assistant to make a reservation and provide a date and time.

"These machines could call on behalf of political parties and make ever more convincing recommendations for voting", Firth-Butterfield reasoned.

That led to criticism by the likes of technology sociologist Zeynep Tufekci, who described the AI assistant "ethically lost" on Twitter, given the use of computers to deceive real humans by sounding like them.

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