Human or bot? Google Duplex scares me
People have a hard enough time knowing whats fake news, or what photos are to be trusted. Now you wont be able to believe your own ears.
And if the voice on the other end stumbles before they answer, you still may not know for sure.
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Id hate to think about what happens when this technology advances beyond Googles grip. Get ready for robocallers to be less robot, and more chit-chatty.
Update, May 11 at 1:50 p.m. ET:After this editorial published,Google told CNETexplicitly it will launch Duplex with disclosure built-in.
Does a company that wants to be transparent need to trick our ears into thinking a robot is human?
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Commentary: People can no longer tell when theyre chatting with a robot. Google, what have you done?
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In the demonstrations Google provided, the robot never identified itself as a robot. Does Google have the responsibility to disclose when its AI is posing as a human?Google said in an interview with CNETthat its looking into ways to be transparent and identify itself. (And seeupdate, below.)
Human or bot? Google Duplex scares me
Its unclear of how the final product will sound when it launches in the summer. But in this demonstration, Google has shown us how far this technology can go — and how well a machine can spoof a human, bantering back and forth on a phone, undetected.
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Not only is the typical robotic voice gone, but Google took extra steps to disguise the system to sound more like a human. There are imperfections — umms and uhhs — and little quirks of phrasing added (Oh, I gotcha). And inexamples provided by Google, humans dont even trip up the computer with our nuances of speaking casually.
First published May 9, 5:31 p.m. ET.
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For a robots banter to be indistinguishable from a human is quite a breakthrough, but its one that comes loaded with ethical and moral questions.
Im disturbed by what this technology means and why we even needed to take artificial intelligence this far. Its one thing to be able to understand the quirks of human conversation. But what good does it bring our society to have a robot pose as human?
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Because if this advanced bot technology is used without transparency, well be the ones left asking questions every time we pick up the phone: Hi… um, are you alive?
Is Silicon Valley considering the implications of technology before building it? Instead of asking if we can make something, is anyone asking if we should?
In this age of disinformation, where fake news thrives and the public has trust issues with technology, Google designed a machine that can deceive humans.
Googles engineers used artificial intelligence to give birth to something calledDuplex– a digital assistant that can call a local business to make appointments on your behalf over the phone. And the receptionists on the other end of the call have no idea they are conversing back and forth with a robot.
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Discuss: Human or bot? Google Duplex scares me
But if Google wanted to be transparent, why go through the extra steps of hiding the robot interface? Why not just make a smooth-sounding voice, rather than one that tries to act more human with umms and mm-hmms. The computer voice even talks with upspeak — a typicalValley girltrait of ending statements to sound like questions.