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If you think AI is a long way off...

masonbee Privacy

Your wrong. On May 8th Google announced Google Duplex. Google Duplex is a technology for conducting natural conversations to achieve real world tasks. In the examples given Duplex makes two phone calls.

The first is a hairdressing appointment where it books an appointment for a client, interacts naturally with the unknowing person at the salon, haggles about the time and confirms the appointment. All done in a natural sounding womans voice complete with mmmmm's and thanking the assistant at the end. There is no way the salon assistant would have known they were interacting with a computer. At worst they would have thought the phone connection had a strange feel and maybe there was a slightly out of sync rhythm to the conversation. But no worse than talking to someone who is accomplishing another task.

The second is a male voice booking a table at a restaurant. This one is more amazing due to the background noise and the womans strong accent. I would have been confused by the call but Duplex navigates it all successfully including finding out about seating times on the day in question. Again, it all sounds very natural and there would be no way of telling you were not talking to a human.

Now each of these calls were a specific task so it doesn't really achieve the Turing Test for artificial intelligence (where the person doesn't know they are talking to a machine). A less concise task may have lead to more complex questions and answers that Duplex would not have been able to navigate. It certainly does point to the future.

Imagine a world where you are no longer able to tell if you are dealing with a person or a computer. On the Internet, the phone, in letters. At any point where you are not physically present with them. Marketing where the interactions were specifically based on Google knowledge of you. A call from a politician to vote for them or your mother to buy some milk. All done in the persons voice, cadence, and knowledge gleaned from their Internet interactions. What happens to society when no one is really sure they are in it? We have seen the rise of fake news. What happens in the rise of fake you?

Listen to the calls and have a think. It's a weird world and its going to get weirder.