Google unveils human-sounding AI Assistant 'Duplex', raises ethical concerns

Google's Duplex should come with a caveat, says UNSW artificial intelligence expert

Judging by the demo, Duplex seems pretty damn good at replicating the natural speech patterns of humans, down to the "um", and "ah" filler words found in almost every phone call.

Google Assistant has also been updated with new voices.

To this effect, it is adding to the assistant's code, lines that will help it improve the user's "digital well-being". More than a year after Google made its Google Assistant available for iPhones, we are begining to see their AI close the gap on Siri.

In this context, a Google spokesperson has given a statement to CNET, clarifying the identification details and confirming that the company include the necessary disclosure designs to the feature. "We'll be experimenting with the right approach over the coming months". The technology is used widely, to provide speech and face recognition, language translation, and personal recommendations on music, film and shopping sites.

Duplex is able to make reservations or book appointments through phone calls and is a bit creepy how realistic it can sound during a conversation.

And unlike the voices of current AI assistants which give off their robot origins, Duplex sounded natural. The first was to make an appointment with a hair dresser, a call that was straightforward and went smoothly.

Google has introduced this Digital Assistant for the ease of the persons who are so busy that they can not set their appointment. "But it's equally clear that we can't just be wide-eyed about what we create", he wrote in a blog post. And that is where the problem lies.

"We recognize the importance of the discussion about Google Duplex - and, as stated at the outset, we have to consider full transparency of the technology". These are valid concerns too, because the implications of such technology is scary looking towards the future.

Not like bots don't exist already, but services like Duplex will take the game a notch up. Like is it really ethical to use human-like software to interact with humans? It allows for any of the Assistant's six voices to make calls on behalf of individuals to businesses to make a reservation, noting dates, times and any limiting parameters imposed by the business such as party sizes or scheduling conflicts. Will the next generation exhale in exasperation when the person on the other end puts it on hold?

People are talking: Once people had a little time to listen to the sample calls, many were less than thrilled.

This did raise a lot ethical questions among certain sections of the society and Google has now responded with the assurance that it will incorporate such a disclosure, going ahead.

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