Google says Duplex AI will explicitly tell callee they’re talking to a bot

Google’s demo of its Duplex technology looked straight out of a sci-fi movie and the crowd at this year’s I/O conference couldn’t control its excitement.

It did look fascinating, but as the dust settled and excitement levels came down, other voices started getting louder. Voices that criticized the feature, saying it mimics human voice and effectively deceives the person who’s on the other end of the call.

That the many in Google did not erupt in utter panic and disgust at the first suggestion of this… is incredible to me. What of Google’s famed discussion boards? What are you all discussing if not this?!?! This is horrible and so obviously wrong. SO OBVIOUSLY WRONG. *headdesk*

zeynep tufekci (@zeynep) May 9, 2018

Well, Google seems to have taken note of those critics, and has issued a statement confirming the AI calling system would identify itself as a software so there’s no confusion.

“We understand and value the discussion around Google Duplex as weve said from the beginning, transparency in the technology is important,” a Google spokesperson said.

“We are designing this feature with disclosure built-in, and well make sure the system is appropriately identified. What we showed at I/O was an early technology demo, and we look forward to incorporating feedback as we develop this into a product.”