Google backtracks, now will tell people a robot is on the phone


"I live in fear of a Google Duplex world where I have to make a hair appointment and the person on the other end treats me like a robot and is terrible to me and how am I going to prove that I'm a human?" said Morrison, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo who studies technology's impact on culture. The Google assistant did such an uncanny impression of a person, incorporating appropriate nuances wherever needed, that the person on the other end was not able to recognize that he was even talking to real person.

Tap on the menu icon in the top left corner of the display, locate the Google Assistant subheading and then select More settings. The AI will only work in what the company calls "closed domains"; that is limited contexts such as making an appointment, booking a restaurant or finding out a business's opening hours. Similar, smart inline suggestions in Google Photos make it easy for users to share photos instantly or to perform other tasks such as brightening a photo or colorizing old black and white pictures, Google's CEO said.

Anyone called by the bot will be told they are conversing with a machine, Google told tech news site the Verge.

"One of the biggest time-savers of all is the Google Assistant, which we announced two years ago at I/O", Pichai said referring to Google's AI-powered digital assistant. It said it will let people know a robot is calling them on the phone.

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"We are designing this feature with disclosure built-in, and we will make sure the system is appropriately identified. That which we revealed at I/O was an ancient technology presentation, and we anticipate integrating feedback as we grow this into a product".

"We understand and value the discussion around Google Duplex - as we've said from the beginning, transparency in the technology is important", a Google spokeswoman reported to CNET.

Artificial Intelligence has various definitions, but in general it means a program that uses data to build a model of some aspect of the world.

Google has said it wants to integrate the technology into as many of its products as possible so users can communicate with the products using voice commands and natural speech.