Google Duplex parodies are now taking over YouTube as a rising number of people are mocking the idea of an artificial intelligence making a phone call on their behalf. Searching for "Google Duplex" returns a handful of such videos near the top of the results, with the service returning over a thousand results to the "Google Duplex parody" query. The videos, some of which can be seen below, range from light mocking to crude humor and creations that question the ethics of AI-made phone calls, with content creators toying with ideas of Google Assistant talking to your parents, breaking up with your girlfriend, and starring in the original Terminator.
Announced last week at the annual Google I/O developer conference, Google Duplex is an upcoming functionality of Google Assistant meant to allow the digital helper to understand complex speech and mimic it as necessary so as to make interactions with people more natural-sounding. The short demo of the technology Google presented at the event saw its assistant make an appointment with a hair salon, prompting significant public backlash due to the fact that the recipient of the call appeared to have been under the impression she was talking with another person instead of a combination of algorithms and text-to-speech solutions.
Alphabet's subsidiary reacted to the outcry by explicitly stating it's building Google Duplex with transparency in mind, describing its I/O 2018 demo as just an early prototype meant to showcase the current capabilities of the service instead of something that's entirely representative of the final product. The commercial version of the technology will hence have the AI identify itself to humans, albeit details regarding its disclosure mechanisms remain unclear. Google hasn't attached a timeline to the project but confirmed it's still actively developing it with the goal of eventually making it available in all English-speaking markets before possibly looking to expand further.