Google unveiled its artificial-intelligence assistant on Tuesday at its annual developer conference.
Duplex is an automated voice assistant that sounds almost exactly like a human. The AI assistant sounds so lifelike that even a human listener cannot detect if it is a machine. Duplex is intended to handle standard phone calls and carry a conversation over the phone for you, like taking appointments or making reservations.
The program is an “experiment,” the company says, only a limited number of users will be able to try it this summer. But the technology raises some ethical concerns.
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We reached out to Google regarding disclosures and a spokesperson responded with this statement:
We understand and value the discussion around Google Duplex -- as we’ve said from the beginning, transparency in the technology is important. We are designing this feature with disclosure built-in, and we’ll make sure the system is appropriately identified. 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.
Jonathan May, computer science research assistant professor and research scientist at the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute (ISI); his specialties include machine learning and natural language processing