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Google says its Duplex voice calling AI will make itself "appropriately identified"

12 May 2018

This year's I/O 2018 was a bag full of surprises.

Currently, Google Assistant allows users to pick between one female (the default) and one male voice. TimeTrade's intelligent appointment scheduling platform harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to improve meeting scheduling strategies through real-time customer insights and actions, producing better meetings and higher growth businesses, with TimeTrade customers outpacing their peers by almost 3X. There is also a feature that the company explains will help teach "good manners".

While the latter is an interesting feature, it is features like "Duplex" that make the Google Assistant a thing straight out of an HG Wells novel. The only question in the minds of technology experts is how this disclosure can be implemented. It may not be a leap of the level of quantum computing, but it is, in its own right a leap that could change how individuals and businesses function in the coming days.

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These new features will not be the final ones from Google created to help make people shut down their phone for just a little while.

One of the YouTube-specific features was titled take a break, with which you could schedule custom breathers as often as you want, pausing what you're now watching and encouraging you to step away. What was remarkable and also eery, was that Google Assistant was able to pass itself off as human to the caller as it carried out the task.

Google Duplex, the human-sounding AI assistant that can make phone calls for you, stunned us when it was demoed earlier this week. The example given was a pre-recorded call between Assistant and a barber.

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"There are very real and important questions being raised about the impact of technology and the role it will play in our lives".

A year and a half ago, the company began developing Wavenet, which makes recorded audio sound less robotic and more like a natural voice. Remember that Jordan Peele/Barack Obama video from last month where Peele made the point that we can't possibly comprehend the ways technology can fabricate false realities? And that is where the problem lies. Looking forward, experts are saying that Google has to be wary of how they roll out technology like this because of the ethical concerns. The software, however is intelligent enough to recognize if the conversation is going in a direction which it's not equipped to deal with and will transfer the call to a human in that instance. It was so convincing, it fooled the employees on the other end, who had no idea they were speaking to a program, not an actual human.

We have seen this already with the likes of Amazon Show and Amazon Spot.

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