Published in AI

Google’s new AI talks like a human

by on09 May 2018

You could be working with Duplex and be unaware of it

Search engine Google has been showing off an AI tool dubbed "Duplex" which is an AI assistant that can call people up and interact with them – without anyone ever knowing they were speaking to a robot.

Speaking to the assembled multitudes at the IO conference Google CEO Sundar Pichai showed how the bot could call people up and book a hairdressers' appointment. It went through the entire process of booking it – referring to the human as its "client" – without the person on the other end of the call ever realising that they were talking to a robot.

The AI assistant used pauses and "ums" and "mmm-hmms" to sound more human.

Pichai said Duplex could understand "complex sentences, fast speech, and long remarks" and so naturally converse and make an appointment, before sending the user notification to confirm the booking.

The technology opens a real can of worms and also creates a question of what will happen if a bot talks to another bot and if they should be required to identify themselves as robots if they were asked.

Google demonstrated how it was developing tools that could construct whole bots out of people's voices. It showed popular beat combo artist John Legend recording just a few choice phrases– which were then synthesised using artificial intelligence into a voice that could be made to say anything and still sound like the singer.

This means that the Google voice that calls you using Duplex could have any voice – making it hard to recognise when it is not a real person.

Here is what it sounds like

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