At its annual developer conference, Google I/O 2018, Google mesmerized the audience with announcements of many magical products and one of them was a major AI upgrade to its Assistant called Google Duplex. Duplex will enable Google Assistant to make actual calls for a user to book an appointment or make a reservation, as presented by Google in a demo at the event. But is it possible that the promise of Google’s advanced artificial-intelligence tech is too good to be true?
The demo was indeed impressive. Duplex can make phone calls to schedule appointments, say, or to reserve a table at a restaurant, using familiar human verbal tics and filler words— “umm,” “mmhmm,” and “gotcha”—that makes it hard to tell that the voice on the other line is an artificial intelligence program or a human. But what if this all was preplanned and recorded in a perfect way to present gracefully? There was something a little off in the conversations the A.I. had on the phone with businesses, suggesting that perhaps Google had faked, or at least edited, its demo, as noted by Axios.
The Axios reports that there’s no ambient noise in Google’s recordings, as one would expect in a hair salon or a restaurant. At no point in Google’s conversations with the businesses did the employees who answered the phone ask for the phone number or other contact information from the A.I. Concludingly, we can say that Google has likely presented a staged act in its presentation.
Axios also reports that they Google didn’t respond on the matter when they asked the company about this demo. On the contrary, it is entirely possible that Google has successfully made a lifelike virtual assistant that can replicate human interactions over the phone, and it’s possible we’ll all be using and interacting with this kind of AI sooner than we might like.
In the video below you can have a look at Duplex demo part;
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