Google Duplex – an addition to the Google Assistant that can set up a salon appointment or a restaurant reservation by calling those places, stole the show at Google’s I/O keynote earlier this month. Here’s everything we know about it so far. Initially, people were truly amazed by what they saw and couldn’t believe what they had just witnessed. Did Google Duplex really just pass the Turing test? I was too. But shortly afterwards certain ethical questions popped up due to the nature through which the system attempts to fake or impersonate a human. Axios asked Google some simple questions about their demo, which Google has since refused to answer. Axios has since begun posing questions about the legitimacy of the demo, which are all very fair and valid points. As I watched it, I also wondered why there was no background noise, which would usually be present in a restaurant or hair salon, and why neither of the businesses had identified themselves.
Axios called over two dozen hair salons and restaurants — including some in Google’s hometown of Mountain View — and every one immediately gave the business name. Finally, neither the hair salon nor the restaurant ask for the customer’s phone number or any other contact information. AxiosSo, what do you think? Was the Google Duplex demo faked? Either way, if Google has made any such progress towards a system that would be able to handle such calls seamlessly, that would be incredible. We’ll just have to wait and find out to see how close they really are to creating a lifelike Google Assistant.