Google Duplex undeniably stole the show at this year's I/O, but while plenty of people were thrilled to see the new technology, others were troubled by what they saw.
During I/O's opening keynote, Google showed its Duplex system calling a hair salon and restaurant to make an appointment and reservation. Duplex spoke with the human on the other end of the call, filled the conversation with natural pauses/questions, and even said "uh" and "mhmm."
Having a piece of technology that sounds so human left a lot of people rather worried about the societal impact it could have, and since this backlash broke out, Google's since responded to reassure us that it's taking precautionary steps.
In a statement that a Google spokesperson recently issued —
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.
Although I think this is a good move on Google's part, I'm interested to see how the company incorporates this disclosure. When Duplex is used to call a business, will it say "Hi, I'm the Google Assistant calling on Joe's behalf?" If it's that apparent someone is talking to a bot, what's the likelihood they'll just hang up? Google will need to find a middle-ground of retaining that human nature while still keeping people in the know, and I'm not entirely sure how it's going to achieve that.
What do you think about Google's response?