re: Google Duplex - The Conversation about Ethics? VIEW POST


I would say yes. Having a quick discussion with my brother about it I came up with the scenario of the Google AI being used to call businesses constantly to set up fake appointments.

A simple solution to this is to make the AI start the conversation like "Hi, this is Google Assistant calling on behalf of Joe Smith, I would like to make an appointment for him please".

Human on the other side knows it's an AI and can answer accordingly. Doesn't need to pretend to do formalities, can simply state fact. Both efficient and fair to the person on the otherside.

I also would say it is important for AI to be as humanised as possible, as we can all agree standard computer voices are annoying and most people would just hangup.


Good point! I totally agree that this would make it more convenient to use because the called person can just talk straight facts if he/she knows it is an AI.

This would also eliminate trouble with slangs, unclear instructions and other scenarios where the assistent does not understand the answer correctly. I think Google's AI is very advanced but there can always be times when it does not understand the person on the phone.

And the next point is: what if there are personal questions to be answered? Like "do you like to get your hair cut only or also overdo your beard / dye your hair"? Because sometimes they need to know how much time they plan on your appointment.

Or at the doctors: most of the time they want to know a rough description what the appointment is for so they can re-schedule another one if necessary.


I have been wondering about this about the personal questions aspect. I believe my solution of informing them it's an AI may reduce that issue, though you could also do the fancy and have the AI post either the message on your phone screen so you can answer, or just have it reply "I don't know". If creating the appointment then failed the AI could go back to the user and say "I couldn't book the appointment because...", allowing the user to then give more detailed instructions.

We're at the precipice of incredible technology here, so who knows where it will go.


I've read that Google will have limits in place, both in terms of limiting the number of times a given business will get calls from the Assistant, and the number of times you'll be able to use it in a given time-frame.


I agree, if this thing is programmable it can also be used to do a lot of social engineering for hacking purposes


So far, with Google Duplex specifically, the only things they seem to let you do is ask to make appointments, without much in the way of ability to socially engineer, so at least with Google's current implementation, there doesn't seem like there'd be an issue.

I guess we'll see in the coming years :-)

Indeed. I just mean that, if Google is taking your actual Google account as the basis for information it gives to the stores it calls about you, the chance of being able to trick people seems very low.

Now, when the folks who do robocalls have access to some other implementation, when in several years an open sourced system with enough training is able to be used in this way (if such a thing ever happens), then that would obviously be more cause for concern. But I feel like Robocalling is popular because it's so cheap.

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