Serious Doubts are Being Raised About that Google Duplex Demo
Just a few weeks ago, Google stole all kinds of headlines across the internet—including several right here on Dealerscope—during its I/O 2018 developers conference for an incredibly impressive on-stage demo of Google Duplex. During his keynote, Google CEO Sundar Pichai demonstrated this new Google Assistant feature, which could make phone calls for you and engage in fairly in-depth two-way dialogue with the person on the other end of the line.
In its demo, the Duplex technology was “shown” making a call to a local hair salon to schedule an appointment and to a local restaurant to try to secure a reservation.
The technology, which I personally find a little creepy, gave off this sort of too-good-to-be-true kind of vibe. And, thanks to some reporting by tech site Axios, it turns out that that may actually be the case.
In analyzing the demo, Axios raised a number of suspicious points. For example, in neither instance did the person picking up the phone identify the business—which is pretty typical when calling, you know, a business. Additionally, both calls lacked typical ambient noises that you might expect to hear in the background of a phone call to a hair salon or a restaurant. In making several attempts to follow up with Google after the event, Axios was denied answers or simply ignored by Google.
There would be nothing wrong, in theory, with Google lightly editing each call to, say, protect the identity of the business to prevent unwanted calls from overly-zealous fanboys and fangirls. And heck, even if they were doctored up to prevent the potential for the typical tech demo fail that we’ve come to expect in these situations, I wouldn’t be upset to learn that about this Google Duplex demo.
But what’s suspicious about this is the way in which Google decided, frankly, to take the fifth in its approach to not responding to Axios’ attempts to dig a little deeper. Their brushing it aside seems to have opened the door to more doubt around the authenticity of the Duplex demo.