A time is almost upon us where one can have a phone conversation with a robot and never know it.
According to Mercury News, “Google CEO Sundar Pichai broke a new barrier in artificial intelligence technology Tuesday when he unveiled a voice assistant that sounds exactly like a human voice.”
The “Google Duplex” gives the Assistant a “human-like cadence and includes artificial intelligence that is able to comprehend context and unclear answers.” The Duplex even has the ability to utter “ums” and “uhs” for the sake of sounding more human.
To demonstrate, Pichai had the Duplex make reservations at a restaurant and hair salon. Both times, the people on the receiving end had no idea they were speaking with a robot. The Duplex Google Assistant even responded with questions and remarks when learning that the restaurant could not accommodate its reservation.
“We’ve been working on this technology for many years,” said Pichai. “We’re still developing this technology, and we want to work hard to get this technology and the expectations right.”
“We are at an important inflection point in computing,” said Pichai. “We know the path ahead needs to [be] navigated carefully and deliberately.”
Analysts expressed delight over the new frontier in artificial intelligence.
“Where mobile was once the platform for Google’s development and growth, artificial intelligence is now the basis that underpins the full spectrum of Google’s endeavors,” said CCS Insights analyst Geoff Blaber. “Google is weaving its assistant deeper into services such as maps and making it more immersive through visuals.”
While people may feel this represents a new problem in the era of digital communications, one analyst said the technology has “still a long ways to go.”
“At the end of the day, (the calls were) just booking an appointment at a restaurant,” said Creative Strategies’ consumer technology analyst Carolina Milanesi. “These are fairly easy interactions.”