If you’re a nerd or just a casual technology news consumer, you might have heard about the recent live Google Duplex demo with the company’s CEO. In essence, the technology will assist you with those mundane or annoying times when you need to schedule an appointment. Simply tell your device to schedule an appointment for you and it will take care of the whole thing, phone call, scheduling, and all.
Sounds amazing, right? But following the demo, journalists began asking questions of Google. Here’s an article that tipped me off to the issue:
The demo was indeed impressive… But is it possible that the promise of Google’s advanced artificial-intelligence tech is too good to be true? As Axios noted Thursday morning, there was something a little off in the conversations the A.I. had on the phone with businesses, suggesting that perhaps Google had faked, or at least edited, its demo.
Unlike a typical business (Axios called more than two dozen hair salons and restaurants), the employees who answered the phone in Google’s demos don’t identify the name of the business, or themselves. Nor is there any ambient noise in Google’s recordings, as one would expect in a hair salon or a restaurant. At no point in Google’s conversations with the businesses did the employees who answered the phone ask for the phone number or other contact information from the A.I.
Further, California is a two-party consent state, meaning that both parties need to consent in order for a phone conversation to be legally recorded. Did Google seek the permission of these businesses before calling them for the purposes of the demo? Was it staged in the simulated manner of reality TV? (Source: Vanity Fair)