- The video above shows the first public demonstration Google Duplex, a new experimental feature that lets Google Assistant call businesses on your behalf to get information or make reservations.
- It was easily the wildest announcement at Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference.
- People are already forming some very strong opinions about Google Duplex and its various technological and societal implications.
Google Duplex was the talk of Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference that kicked off this week.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled the new product himself on Tuesday: Basically, you can ask Google Assistant to call a business on your behalf, and Google’s AI will schedule an appointment for you. Google demoed two phone calls on stage to give people a taste of what to expect.
For the most part, people focused on two aspects of Google Duplex:
- How natural it sounded. Google Duplex uses Google’s new natural-sounding AI, which adds its own little air-fillers between words in the same way humans do, like “um,” and “uh.”
- The fact the people on the phone didn’t seem to know they were talking to computer software. Pichai did mention during the presentation that Google is working hard to “get the user experience and the expectations right for both businesses and users,” but people think final product should include some kind of greeting so they’re aware they’re talking to Google Assistant and not an actual human being.
And so, reactions to Google Duplex have mainly played out in two ways: People are blown away by what Google has created, and how far their AI efforts have come. But people are scared, too, and they’re concerned about what this could mean for artificial intelligence and the future of human interaction.