The newly unveiled Google Duplex AI system will identify itself to people it calls. Following widespread controversy on the ethical dilemma it causes, Google released a statement saying that a “disclosure” will be “built-in” for the system:
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.
Google Duplex is an experimental feature for Google Assistant, that allows the AI to make calls and book appointments for users. The company unveiled the feature at its yearly developer conference some days ago. With the feature, when users ask the Google Assistant to set appointments at local businesses, restaurants etc, it makes a call to the businesses and speaks to them just like a human would.
While the feature was appreciated by many, comments were also made on how creepy it was to hear an AI speak just like humans. The Assistant even made pauses, and Google’s blog revealed just how smart it could be. Of course, the company did say that it was an experimental feature at the moment, and it will be a while before you can actually use it.
Meanwhile, Alphabet's board chairman, John Hennessy, came strongly backing Duplex, and said it does pass the test when it comes specifically to booking appointments. However, he admitted "It doesn't pass it in general terms, but it passes in that domain. And that's really an indication of what's coming," he said.
Yet, Google Duplex seems to be a big step forward in the AI-driven future that big tech companies have foreseen.