- At Google's biggest event of the year, CEO Sundar Pichai introduced Google Duplex, a new AI software that talks eerily like a human, and even uses realistic stammers like "um" and "ahh."
- Google Duplex is designed to make phone calls for the user, and demonstrations implied that the humans on the other end of the phone calls didn't realize they were speaking with software, causing an uproar of ethical criticism.
- Today, Google confirmed that Duplex — which is not yet widely available — will be able to identify itself on the phone, and that "transparency" is a high priority for the future of the product.
Google introduced their newest jaw-dropping feat at the I/O conference this week: a hyper-realistic sounding chatbot that will be able to make phone calls for you.
The demonstration received both praise and skepticism, with some calling in to question the ethics of an AI that cannot easily be distinguished from a real person's voice.
Today, a Google spokesperson confirmed in a statement to Business Insider that the creators of Duplex will "make sure the system is appropriately identified" and that they are "designing this feature with disclosure built-in."
In a demonstration of the software, called Google Duplex, the voice used human-like stammers such as "um," and sounded so realistic the humans on the other end of the line seemed to be completely unaware they had actually been chatting with an AI, causing many tech influencers to debate on Twitter and elsewhere whether Duplex and other chatbots should be required to identify themselves to humans.
Here's the full statement from Google:
"We understand and value the discussion around Google Duplex — as we've said from the beginning, transparency in the technology is important. We are designing this feature with disclosure built-in, and we'll make sure the system is appropriately identified. What we showed at I/O was an early technology demo, and we look forward to incorporating feedback as we develop this into a product."
Google CEO Sundar Pichai preemptively addressed ethics concerns in a blog post that corresponded with the announcement earlier this week, saying:
"It's clear that technology can be a positive force and improve the quality of life for billions of people around the world. But it's equally clear that we can't just be wide-eyed about what we create. There are very real and important questions being raised about the impact of technology and the role it will play in our lives. We know the path ahead needs to be navigated carefully and deliberately—and we feel a deep sense of responsibility to get this right."
In addition, several Google insiders have told Business Insider that the software is still in the works, and the final version may not be as realistic (or as impressive) as the demonstration.
You can watch the full Google Duplex demonstration here:
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