Hello? This is Google's AI calling

Ismael LynchMay 12, 2018

The big hallmark of Google Duplex is the system's ability to conduct natural sounding conversations.

The Artificial Intelligence used in the Google Assistant is enriched with "Duplex" technology.

As Google explains in a blog post, "allowing people to interact with technology as naturally as they interact with each other has been a long-standing promise".

There are still questions around this process of making a machine speak to humans without identifying itself and Google stands by its word to make the disclosure element part of the deal before it is commercially released.

"We recognize the importance of the discussion about Google Duplex - and, as stated at the outset, we have to consider full transparency of the technology". There might even come a time when no one can trust the other person on a phone call because they aren't sure whether they exist in the first place. "What we showed at I/O was an early technology demonstration, and we look forward to incorporating feedback as we develop this into a product". (Families have listened to over 130,000 hours of children's stories in the last two months alone.) To help you give your little ones some positive reinforcement when they ask nicely, later this year Google will introduce Pretty Please, so that the Assistant can understand and encourage polite conversation.

The feature, called Google Duplex, was demonstrated at the company's I/O developers' conference on Tuesday. The assistant added pauses, "ums" and "mmm-hmms" to its speech in order to sound more human as it spoke with real employees at a hair salon and a restaurant. Will the next generation exhale in exasperation when the person on the other end puts it on hold?

"A vehicle assistance could call the ambulance in case of an emergency like an accident, and in this case, it is a life-saving technology".

While this new feature is directly locking horns with Apple's and Amazon's counterparts - Siri and Alexa, the respective companies' very own personal assistants, there is plenty of interest and excitement as to how Google will match up to it.

While impressive, Duplex has also received backlash in the past few days, leaving Google to stress about transparency in the technology, reports CNET.

The natural interaction that the AI managed to have with the person at the end of the call showed not just how well the feature has been programmed but also goes to show how deeply it understands human behaviour, its reactions to certain situations and how even humans pace their conversations.

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