Skeptics Doubting Whether Google's AI Call Demo Is Real

The Google Duplex demo showcased at this year's Google I/O developer conference raised a lot of controversies and is still making headlines, though ethical concerns are now taking a back seat to questions about the truthfulness of the presentation itself. Axios questioned Google about various aspects of the supposed video call wherein Google Assistant made an appointment with a hair salon, with the tech giant declining to comment on all of its inquiries earlier this week.

The fact that the receptionist hasn't identified herself or the business she represents after picking up the phone is being highlighted as suspicious, with such informative greetings being a common practice throughout the United States, including Google's home city of Mountain View, California. After making an appointment, the receptionist also hasn't asked for any kind of contact details which is what any business usually does, whereas the call lacked any kind of ambient noise as well, though the final point is the least suspicious of the three seeing how many companies have their representatives picking up calls away from customers. At the I/O 2018 event, Google claimed the functionality still isn't ready for a wider release and hasn't provided a specific timeline for when it might be, nor did it clarify at what stage of development Google Duplex is. Alphabet's subsidiary also declined to comment whether the recording played at its developer conference was edited in any way when Axios inquired about the matter.

Google Assistant's ability to make appointments on behalf of users is presently being parodied all over the Internet, whereas some more concerned parties are questioning whether it's ethical to have a combination of AI algorithms and text-to-speech technologies impersonate people over the phone, though Google already said its service will identify itself to humans once it's released, without elaborating on the matter. Google Assistant is widely considered to be the most capable consumer-facing digital helper to date and is already integrated into a wide variety of the company's platforms.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Head Editor
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]