Google's 'deceitful' AI assistant to identify itself as a robot during calls

Google's 'deceitful' AI assistant to identify itself as a robot during calls

Earlier this week at the Google I/O developer festival, the company debuted Duplex, its eerily accurate human voice system that impersonates a bumbling intern making calls on your behalf.

"I think AI Duplex is a cool technology", UNSW Canberra artificial intelligence expert and SEIT Professor Hussein Abbass says. According to Google, Duplex is able to schedule appointments and book restaurant reservations by making actual phone calls for you. It can do more as designed but for now, it can only make appointments and book reservations for you. It used Google DeepMind's new WaveNet audio-generation technique and other advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP) to replicate human speech patterns. The human on the other side of the line never asked it to identify itself. The company is placing robots in conversations with humans, without those people realizing. Now they may wonder what part of the work the students wrote themselves, Eck said. "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", a Google spokeswoman said in a statement. Top of the list was the questionable ethics behind having machines make phone calls without disclosing that they aren't human.

Even though Google explained on Thursday it'd Make Sure That the bot is "suitably recognized", it has not shared specifics on how exactly those disclosures could be put into place. And Pichai made no reference of this bot announcing itself as an electronic assistant - leaving the audience perplexed about Google's goals for its AI technology.

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Assistant is coming to Google Maps in a big way, with a ton of new shortcuts, as well as the ability for the digital assistant to text your friend when you're on your way. On mobile phones for example, Assistant will enable displays that give users a quick snapshot of their day along with location-based, time-based and interaction-based activity suggestions.

The most headline-grabbing announcement was probably the revelation that singer and actor John Legend would lend his voice to Google's AI assistant platform later this year.

While impressive, Duplex has also received backlash in the past few days, leaving Google to stress about transparency in the technology, reports CNET. If AI Duplex uses a human name to gain human trust, then clearly there is an element of deception and the AI would be acting unethically. "We want to be clear about the intent of the call so businesses understand the context".

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