Google is coming under intense criticism over one of the new artificial intelligence (AI) advances it unveiled at the I/O developer conference. The company’s new Duplex app uses AI to interact with people in the real world, for example, by scheduling salon appointments during an acceptable window, ordering pizza or making restaurant reservations. The technology is undeniably handy, but people are taking issue with the fact that the chatbot is indistinguishable from a real live human being.
“Horrifying,” tweeted technology critic Zeynep Tufekci. “Silicon Valley is ethically lost, rudderless and has not learned a thing.”
Dr Thomas King, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute’s Digital Ethics Lab, said, “As for whether the technology itself is deceptive, I can’t really say what their intention is — but… even if they don’t intend it to deceive you can say they’ve been negligent in not making sure it doesn’t deceive… So I can’t say it’s definitely deceptive, but there should be some kind of mechanism there to let people know what it is they are speaking to.”