Is It Normal To Worry About Google Duplex?

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About a week ago, Google held the IO 2018 conference which was hosted on their Google Developers YouTube Channel. You can click that link to watch the whole thing now if you want to. It’s about an hour long and filled with some pretty interesting stuff like map updates, a way of storing your photos plus more.

So as you probably well know, Google Assistant is pretty ingrained alongside Siri and Amazon Alexa on the smart home market, with more and more smart products in your home being able to synchronise with the Assistant.

But, when the Google Assistant can start to leave the home and start organising your life for your, things get interesting. In the keynote session, we witnessed Google calling a salon to book a hair appointment. The voice that Google used was a little more than real. It almost seemed like perfect AI, listening to the other person on the phone and their replies, learning what they say and then replying with perfect accuracy.

The Google Assistant, branded Duplex even put in some vocal inflections, pauses and the right amount of erms and errrs, to make the conversation seem more believable to the other person on the phone. You’ll pretty much never have to call another service again to book an appointment. It really looks as if the art of the telephone call is truly dying.

So how are Google so good at this? Well Google listen to humans, and the way we talk to one another. Sure, they could have put a robot voice on the other end of the phone, but they didn’t. They’ve listened and studied enough conversations that they can near perfectly mimic a human being. Where these conversations are being taken from I have no idea, but it wouldn’t surprise me in this day and age that they are listening in on our telephone conversations.

But, they can’t always get it right, as showed on stage. But the AI voice was able to work around the replies it was hearing from the restaurant and it was still able to find an answer to the original question of booking a table for four people. This technology is still very early, and I reckon it will be at least another two years before this technology will be released finally, although it was said testing was rolling out in the next few weeks.

However, as cool as this sounds in hindsight, there are still some very worrying attributes I feel are linked with this kind of technology. It’s all very well that you could potentially book a service like a hair cut or a table in a restaurant or a plumber to come to your house to fix your sink. But what happens when conversations can get a little smarter? Think about this. If a Google Assistant phones you, sounding completely natural, to speak to you about some odd things going on with your bank account, are you more likely to trust that voice?

There are many questions that are surrounding this great innovative technology, and its certainly going to lead the way for the other smart home assistants. It may not be as smart as Will Smith’s AI date, but of course, things are only going to get smarter. Check out our YouTube video below to see a live demonstration of the new AI features.

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