Sections SEARCH Skip to content Skip to site index Technology Subscribe Log In Subscribe Log In Advertisement Supported by Bits ByKevin Roose May 11, 2018 Each week, Kevin Roose, technology columnist at The New York Times, discusses developments in the tech industry , offering analysis and maybe a joke or two. Want this newsletter in your inbox? Sign up here . Hello again! I’m back from a week spent mostly offline, and am excited to get back to the internet, where I’m sure things have been totally normal and borin — [checks earpiece] — hang on, I’m being told that Elon Musk is dating the Canadian musician Grimes after they connected on Twitter over a joke about an obscure artificial superintelligence thought experiment? Whew, O.K., I was worried we’d slipped into normalcy. Onward. The biggest nonromantic tech news of this week came from a new A.I. tool introduced at Google’s annual developer … [Read more...] about Kevin’s Week in Tech: Are Google’s A.I.-Powered Phone Calls Cool, Creepy, or Both?
I phone calls
Google’s new AI platform which can make voice calls to real businesses will identify itself when starting a conversation, the tech giant has confirmed.Google Duplex was unveiled earlier this week as a new way for its Google Assistant to help out users by being able to phone businesses to make appointments on their behalf.The in-development AI uses advanced natural language tools to sound more human – including dropping “umms” and “ahhs” into speech – but its first demonstration split opinion, with some alarmed that AI would pretend to be a human.Google has now clarified that the technology around Duplex is still very much in development, and it will identify itself if and when it comes into contact with humans.“We understand and value the discussion around Google Duplex — as we’ve said from the beginning, transparency in the technology is important,” a Google spokesman said.“We are designing this feature with … [Read more...] about Google’s AI phone calling software will not pretend to be human
You can also say, "Alexa, call 214-555-1212" and Alexa will dial that number. Amazon is using the internet to place the calls. You can specify in the Alexa app whether you want your cellphone number to appear as an outgoing caller ID number, but you don't have to have a number show at all.Of course, these are speakerphone calls, and with the nice array of microphones on each Echo device, the voice quality is pretty darn good.In fact, I got to thinking about how well those Echo microphones can hear. I can speak in a normal voice from my kitchen, and the Echo Dot in the living room can hear my commands.Our house isn't huge, but the three Echo Dots we have can pick up our voices from anywhere in the house.With Echo Calling, the Echo devices are now very useful for making an emergency phone call. If you fall and break your leg, instead of having to drag yourself to wherever you left your phone, what if you could just say, "Alexa, call Jim" and you can talk from wherever you are in the … [Read more...] about Using Amazon’s Alexa for phone calls can come in handy in an emergency
Google has unveiled quite a bit in the last week. A fascinating project the company has in the works is called Google Duplex. It uses Google Assistant to make actual phone calls and it is not just dialing the person you requested. It can be used to carry out a conversation with the person on the other end. The A.I. was showcased by calling what Google claims are actually real places and scheduling appointments for its user. The first call demonstrates Google Assistant scheduling a hair appointment. The A.I. sounds pretty convincing in the audio clips. It says things like hmm and oh at the appropriate times and does not confuse easily. There are several instances where the person on the other line is not able to complete the initial request, and Google Assistant navigates the issue brilliantly. The second instance displays Google calling a restaurant to make reservations. The person on the other line spoke with a strong accent, but the language barrier did not fool Google Assistant. It … [Read more...] about Google Duplex makes phone calls for you
THE use of artificial intelligence assistants is on the rise as tech firms compete with each other to have the best one - but Google may have just won the race. They've overhauled Google Assistant and given it the ability to hold a two-way conversation. Here's the lowdown on the virtual assistant. What is Google Assistant? Google Assistant is an artificial intelligence app that is found on mobile and smart home devices that can be used to answer questions, search the internet, set alarms and more. The app is the tech giant's version of Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa - just without a funny name. The bot was unveiled in May 2016 and was originally only rolled out on Google Pixel phones but can now be downloaded on to most Android and iPhones running the latest operating system. Users can activate the AI app by saying "okay Google" or "hey Google" and then follow it with a command of what they want the robot to do. The assistant can also be woken on Pixel phones by swiping upwards … [Read more...] about What is Google Assistant, can the app make phone calls and how do you change its voice?
Tech & Science Google Google Duplex artificial intelligence Google’s new “Duplex” AI technology has started a debate. It was announced this week during the company’s annual I/O developer conference, with the audience loudly applauding as the realistic AI-powered computer voice interacted smoothly with a human to book a haircut appointment. While advocates excitedly wait the demise of awkward phone calls, others warned that we are entering an ethical minefield. By now, consumers are used to voice assistant technologies such as Siri and Cortana. It has been built into smart devices from some of the most popular technology brands in the world and they now sit cozily in millions of homes. But Duplex is something else entirely. Google is billing it as the next step in human-computer interaction, which can hold natural conversations and “carry out real world tasks over the phone” such as meeting and appointment booking. “The system … [Read more...] about What is Google Duplex? The ‘Terrifying’ Future of AI Voice Chats Is Here, And it May Change Phone Calls Forever
When a robot rings your phone, you can usually tell right away. Its voice is melodic, it rarely stumbles, and it’s unnaturally efficient. The voice betrays its origin before it even has the chance to tell you that you qualify for a free loan, your mortgage payment is overdue, or that your input would really be valuable for a customer survey. Knowing it's a robot also makes it easy to hang up. The minds behind Google Duplex are in the process of changing that paradigm, for better or worse. Announced Tuesday at Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference, Duplex is new technology that enables Google's machine intelligence–powered virtual assistant to conduct a natural conversation with a human over the phone, mimicking the chit-chattiness of human speech as it completes simple real-world tasks. It was shown off during the keynote event, and even though the onstage demo was prerecorded, seeing and hearing the concept in action floored the audience. In the first … [Read more...] about How Google’s Eerie Robot Phone Calls Hint at AI’s Future
Google’s virtual assistant can now make phone calls to schedule appointments like restaurant reservations, it was revealed at the technology giant's annual conference. The technology uses a natural speech pattern, which includes hesitations and affirmations such as “erm”, making it almost indistinguishable from a genuine human phone call. The brand new feature, which will be launched for the public later this year, was unveiled at the tech firm’s annual I/0 conference earlier on Tuesday. Another new tool in its Android software, which runs most of the world's mobile phones, will notify users how much they are using apps and let them set limits for themselves and family members. Speaking at the event, Google’s chief executive Sundar Pichai said Google should find ways to reduce stress from technology and improve customers' "digital well-being." "We can't just be wide-eyed about the innovations technology creates," he added. Google Maps will also start … [Read more...] about Google’s robot assistant can now make phone calls on your behalf
Google is working on artificial intelligence (AI) technology that is able to make phone calls on behalf of users to confirm reservations and appointments.The technology giant demonstrated the AI phoning a hair salon and a restaurant and interacting with real people to make bookings during its annual I/O developer conference in California.Called Google Duplex, it works as an extension of the firm’s Google Assistant – the virtual helper that responds to voice commands – by making the calls in the background when users ask to make a reservation or appointment.Once the booking is made users are sent a notification confirming the time and date.Unveiling the technology at the company’s annual I/O developer conference, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said the firm was working hard to get the technology right, adding the company help to improve it further before releasing it.Artificial intelligence was a key theme at the event, where Google also laid out plans to … [Read more...] about Google previews a future where AI makes phone calls for you
On stage at I/O 2018, Google showed off a stunning, in-the-works capability of Google Assistant; it might someday make phone calls on your behalf. CEO Sundar Pichai played back a phone call recording that he said was placed by the Assistant to a hair salon. The voice sounded incredibly natural; the person on the other end had no idea they were talking to a digital AI helper. Pichai reiterated that it was a real call using Assistant. This is next-level AI stuff, but Google’s chief executive said it’s still under development. Don’t expect Assistant to be calling your favorite restaurant this year. Pichai says the Assistant can “handle the interaction gracefully” and react intelligently even when a conversation isn't totally straightforward and veers a bit off course. “We’ve been working on this technology for many years,” he said. It’s called Google Duplex. “We’re still developing this technology, and we want to work hard … [Read more...] about Google just gave a stunning demo of Assistant making an actual phone call