Google backtracks, now will tell people a robot is on the phone

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The Assistant is getting six new voices - in addition to its poster child Holly - and R&B singer and songwriter John Legend will be coming to it by the end of this year, Google has confirmed.

The search engine giant stunned fans when it debuted its new AI system - which is able to talk to people over the phone by mimicking a human voice - at its annual tech conference in Mountain View, California, on Tuesday. The most striking announcement was Duplex, a smart feature that lets the Assistant make phone calls for you on your behalf. Google hopes this will transform how people book restaurant reservations or book hair appointments in the future. The system is programmed to have a quick response time and incorporate what Google refers to as "speech disfluencies" to sound more natural.

Precisely how Google intends to add the disclosure into a conversation hasn't been decided.

It's so convincing that Hennessy, a former president of Stanford University, said Duplex passes the test proposed in 1950 by English computer scientist Alan Turing.

Responding to the controversy, Google emphasized that transparency will be an important part of the feature. For Google, this type of deception crosses an ethical line that the technology company is not prepared to take. The company has already uncovered about the Android TV, Wear OS Assistant, Google Home and many more.

The article asked, 'if we can trust Duplex to make our hairdresser appointments, can we also trust it to make an emergency call?'

At this point, we still do not know how Google plans to have Duplex identify itself.

Right after the launch of the Digital Assistant of Google, it was under a lot of debate that whether a human-like robot should be calling people. The only question in the minds of technology experts is how this disclosure can be implemented.

Very little understanding seems to have gone into comprehending the real-world repercussions of the technology, and in the blog and conference presentation, there is no mention of the technology being required to disclose its artificial identity.

Not five minutes after we got done discussing the myriad privacy and security concerns that a technology like Google Duplex raises, Google went ahead and said it's aware of those potential problems. Should Duplex identify itself as non-human or would that significantly diminish its chances of success and its efficacy?

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