Information Systems Integration – Messina

Google Assistant impersonates human


Soon technology will blend further into our human interactions to the point that we won’t be able to tell the difference between AI and a human. Google is on the forefront of this. They announced a new capability for the Google assistant that can book appointments for you. This may include the assistant calling the business and impersonating a human. This technology is what they are calling Google Duplex, which combines “all our investments over the years in natural language understanding, deep learning and text-to-speech,”. They are rolling this out slowly, as an experiment. This will change us socially because now we won’t even have to call to book anything. We also may not realize we are talking to a computer.



5 Responses to Google Assistant impersonates human

  • I watched the while Google I/O that day. I am thinking they showed us just the tip of the iceberg of all the things they’re working on, and partially because they want to test the waters: they want to see the public reaction. Enthusiasm? Skepticism? Paranoia? Acceptance? That will give them feedback so they know how to proceed, whether to show more or not, how careful they must be etc. I think they’re walking on thin ice and they’re aware of it. They both want to ‘colonize’ the AI field first, before anyone else (hence cloud TPUs tech) – at the same time, they have to be careful to not be associated with ‘uncanny valley’ type images. This is the problem they had with Boston Dynamics already, the association with Terminator scenarios. I think the way their PR department will do it, is to show how these technologies can help people who are disadvantaged, blind, handicapped, deaf, etc. And I’m not being cynical here: those technologies they’re working on would really be life savers for many people with various handicaps: instead of having to rely on others which is humiliating to them, they could do more by themselves. Excellent for their confidence. I imagine Google & other tech giants will showcase these cases to make the general population accept certain technologies which would otherwise make them alarmed. It’s a complex issue, it’s both good and (potentially) evil, like all new technologies.

  • Hi Jackie,

    Great post! I actually watched this a few days after Google’s presentation and I was so shocked! I thought it was cool and scary that an AI can be so realistic that we may not even realize we are not talking to a human. As an introvert, I’m very excited about this technology and I can’t wait til a machine can book all may appointments for me! I definitely do think there are still room for improvement, especially if the conversation gets a bit more personal, but for now, this AI blew my mind and I can’t wait to see it being used!

  • This concept of incorporating AI into phone calls is interesting because when we think of AI we think learning new capabilities. Here they are using this technology for something so simple as making appointments. I would be interested in using this type of technology because then it gets rid of all the small tasks that I need to worry about in my day to day. The one thing that got me really surprised was how well the AI was to automate the voice interactions. The little speech mannerisms and pauses throughout the sentences were almost indistinguishable. I guess the only risk with this kind of technology comes with is mocking voices and being able to access things like bank accounts with speech recognition.

  • Very cool post! I saw an article relating to this in the past. The Google AI was able to book a hair appointment and the AI sounded just like a human. I was both shocked and impressed. I never thought AI could be developed so well that you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between AI and human interaction. I think this is a good and bad thing. It’s good because it makes things more convenient such as schedule an appointment. But there will be certain situations where the AI won’t be able to communicate as efficiently as the human user. What if the AI is asked a question only the user would know? I don’t believe I would use a product like this if it were to become available shortly.

  • This is really cool! Something that I think people will really utilize. My only concern is that people will start to realize that the caller is a computer and not want to take such calls because there could be more errors. Maybe there will be some sort of AI that can predict/know if a caller is a human or not. I am excited to see this working on a full-fledged scale.

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