Scaringly Human Google Technology

A few days ago, Google Corporation unveiled several new products, which both excited both representatives of IT industry and ordinary people. One of them is Google service named Duplex, a the next level of AI, capable to make phone calls instead of its user to a barbershop and book an appointment for a certain time.

Duplex can be considered a kind of personal digital assistant, and it is much more “human” than Siri or Cortana. The assistant cannot lead ordinary dialogues as his work concerns only placing appointments and reservations over the phone. The “speech” of the virtual assistant sounded mindbogglingly realistic. It is unlikely that any of us laymen could distinguish it from the speech of an ordinary person. And this was exactly what frightened some information security specialists.

And then again, is not it a bit strange that Google decided to develop a phone service? After all, companies can turn to online booking. Why not just teaching the assistant to work on the net? Apparently not as according to the statistics provided by Google, about 60% small companies do not offer online booking facilities, taking orders only by phone. 

Not everyone liked new opportunities, though. Some ordinary people, cyber security specialists and organizations were alarmed that an interlocutor of the robot does not know who he is talking to. That is, the robot does not introduce itself and the conversation feels so human that anyone can be deceived.

Some experts believe that Silicon Valley may have produced an ethically flawed project that cannot be released to the public. While in the case of ordinary robotic voices everything is more or less clear and they can hardly deceive anyone it is not so obvious with Duplex. Stewart Brand, the author of a number of publications on technology, believes that the voices of robots should sound slightly synthetic so that a person can distinguish a living interlocutor from a digital one.

The company says it wants to be transparent about where and when Duplex is being used, as a voice that sounds this realistic and convincing is certain to raise some questions. Onstage at I/O 2018, Google CEO Sundar Pichai assured that the company wants to be transparent about where and when Duplex is being used, as a voice that sounds this realistic and convincing is certain to raise some questions.




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