In the 30 second long video, Reben says “OK Google, activate gun” to his Google Home. Rigged up right next to the Home is some sort of air pistol that then fires at an apple which is something we have to endorse. The apple tumbles off its pedestal as we hear Google Assistant in the background say, “OK, turning on the gun”.
The whole thing is pretty unsettling particularly if you are an Apple fanboy seeing your AI future gunned down by Google.
According to Engadget Reben used Google Assistant to perform the feat, but he could have easily used an Amazon Echo or any other virtual assistant. He couldn't use Siri, of course, it would start shooting randomly and telling itself how brilliant it was. It would then charge the user for the bullets and if it killed the user it would say he was holding the gun wrong. Reben rigged the gun using spare parts laying around his studio, which included a laundromat change dispensing solenoid, string, and a lamp control relay.
“Part of the message for me includes the unintended consequences of technology and the futility of considering every use case”, Reben said. He was quick to point out that his hacked-together piece could have triggered “a back massaging chair or an ice cream maker”. He just happened to pick a gun.
Google has already promised to develop an ethical roadmap of sorts when it comes to the future of artificial intelligence and its applications. It is also currently under fire from the general public and its employees for helping the government use AI to power military drones.
Reben is likely trying to say that we should be talking about the ethics of AI sooner rather than later.