Chairman Wow. Google has just debuted their AI technology that they hope will be the personal assistants of tomorrow. The demonstrations will blow your tiny mind.
Drop whatever it is you are doing, and listen to this pedestrian phone call.
That was an AI setting a hairdressing appointment. I know. While it is speaking, it leaves your jaw hung in shock. The project is called Duplex, and Google is pitching it as a complete virtual assistant, one that will virtually set all your needless piddly tasks on your behalf.
Let us address the cyber elephant in the room. It sounds like people. Usually, when you converse with a robot, or navigate a menu, it sounds, well, artificial. Whether it’s badgering you to pay your bills, or asking you to leave a message, it’s easy to tell, and indeed, easy to hang up on. This, however, is something else.
This new tech even mimics the finer rough edges of our conversational traits, adding spaces, pauses and even feigns confusion, punctuating sentences with “um”, “eh”, and “uhhhh”.
However, that is seemingly babytalk for the tech. In the second clip, the AI books a table at a restaurant, overcoming both the confusion and the heavy accent of the person who picked up the phone. In the below audio clip, the AI looks to book a reservation on the 7th, whereas the restauranter believes that it is for seven people. A simple problem to overcome for us, but the AI realises the error, and corrects itself.
With the final throes of confusion still strangling the conversation, the AI repeats the preferred booking slot, using the day of the week, instead of the date on the calendar, as previously stated. There’s another problem it overcomes, but you really need to listen for yourself. It is staggering.
Seriously, I am without words.
Yes, there are meta-issues, those built on a foundation of fear.
Will we be able to control AI? If it mimics us, can it be us? What is our place in the future?
Maybe, probably and don’t know.
But, those problems are for tomorrow, but today, let us marvel at the brilliance.
THEY SOUND LIKE PEOPLE!