Who is the bot?

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Rob Lister
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Who is the bot?

Postby Rob Lister » Wed May 09, 2018 12:24 am

Turing Test be damned, this is impressive.

At this year’s Google I/O developer’s conference in Mountain View, Google demoed a very natural-sounding Google Assistant making an appointment over the phone — a feature it calls Google Duplex. This wasn’t just auto-filling an online form — according to various recordings tweeted from the conference, this was a phone call between Google’s AI Assistant and a human working at a salon.


Admittedly, this is a promotion but because I didn't read first and just clicked the video, I could not tell which was the bot.

https://futurism.com/google-assistant-b ... ut-duplex/

I don't want to be a promoter here but this is worthy ...
Google Duplex: This service will use Google's digital assistant to take on the task of making appointments and other tedious calls with actual people at businesses. In two demonstrations—one setting up a hair appointment, the other a restaurant reservation—a realistic-sounding automated voice used pauses and "ums" and "mmm-hmms" to sound more human during interactions with people. Google says the technology is rolling out as "an experiment" in coming weeks. (This piece was getting some of the biggest attention online, with commenters calling the demo "stunning" and "mindblowing" and saying it "really feels like next-level AI stuff.")
http://www.newser.com/story/258987/goog ... grade.html

Ten years and we'll all be irrelevant. Bots cutting bot hair. To what end I don't know.


p.s. it amazes me that women need appointments to get haircuts.
p.p.s. and ed.

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Re: Who is the bot?

Postby Anaxagoras » Wed May 09, 2018 3:47 am

From that snippet of video I could not tell that was a robot.

I would like to see some more examples though.
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Re: Who is the bot?

Postby Abdul Alhazred » Wed May 09, 2018 1:41 pm

If I can't talk it into being a Nazi (purely as an intellectual exercise of course), it fails the Turing test. :p
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Re: Who is the bot?

Postby Rob Lister » Wed May 09, 2018 3:05 pm

Anaxagoras wrote:From that snippet of video I could not tell that was a robot.

I would like to see some more examples though.


Sorry, I thought I posted that. Several examples.
https://ai.googleblog.com/2018/05/duple ... ation.html

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Re: Who is the bot?

Postby Anaxagoras » Thu May 10, 2018 1:37 am

Here comes the apocalyptic naysaying:

The selfishness of Google Duplex

Google’s phone-calling AI seeks to enhance our lives, but at what cost?

The more technology advances, the clearer it becomes that our smartphones are no longer about conversing but more about transfers of information. This was evident at Google’s I/O keynote, where the company unveiled that its AI can now make phone calls on your behalf, booking salon appointments or restaurant reservations. The demo was stunning, both because of how human this next-level chatbot sounded and how dystopian the world would be with our robot imposters flooding the phone lines. But as I walked out of the conference yesterday, I couldn’t stop thinking about the person on the other end of the line. When did human service workers become Google’s to experiment on?

My first job was in the summer of 2004. I waitressed, took phone orders, and packed takeout food at my parents’ restaurant. That job has taught me to have empathy for those working in the service industry. There will always be a subset of people who are inexplicably rude, whether it’s by verbally harassing waiters or refusing to tip because they didn’t like the food. Modern technology has further enabled our entitlement, with the promise of apps and services that can customize, personalize, and cater to our every need, no matter how small. This has led us to disregard the humans fulfilling our demands.

Last fall, Seamless released a series of ads that highlighted over-the-top special instructions its customers made to restaurants and delivery folks. The branding agency called it “hilarious.” I think the people reading these instructions would say otherwise.

With Google’s AI assistant making calls on our behalf, I worry it will become easier for us to abuse small businesses. If it’s as simple as telling Google Duplex to make an appointment, it’s just as easy to constantly reschedule or not show up altogether because there’s no connection between you and the human worker who picked up the phone to arrange your reservation. You don’t feel bad for the number of requests and changes when someone (or something) else is doing it for you. You don’t even have to say “Please.”


Unlikely because if this becomes a thing, the "person" taking an order on the other end will also be a robot.

This sort of thing is just a demonstration of its communication ability, not the future. Making and changing reservations could already be done online without a phone call. That is more efficient. Just one computer telling another computer to book an appointment, in computer language of course, not spoken English.
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Re: Who is the bot?

Postby Anaxagoras » Thu May 10, 2018 2:50 am

More angst:

Human or bot? Google Duplex scares me

Commentary: People can no longer tell when they're chatting with a robot. Google, what have you done?

In this age of disinformation, where fake news thrives and the public has trust issues with technology, Google designed a machine that can deceive humans.

Gosh, what could go wrong?

Aside: I think the old rhetorical question "Gosh, what could go wrong?" is a lazy way to argue against progress. Tell us what you think could go wrong.
Google's engineers used artificial intelligence to give birth to something called Duplex -- a digital assistant that can call a local business to make appointments on your behalf over the phone. And the receptionists on the other end of the call have no idea they are conversing back and forth with a robot.

Not only is the typical robotic voice gone, but Google took extra steps to disguise the system to sound more like a human. There are imperfections -- umms and uhhs -- and little quirks of phrasing added ("Oh, I gotcha"). And in examples provided by Google, humans don't even trip up the computer with our nuances of speaking casually.

For a robot's banter to be indistinguishable from a human is quite a breakthrough, but it's one that comes loaded with ethical and moral questions.

Loaded with ethical and moral questions!! Oh noes! Ban it! Ban it now before it's too late!!!

In the demonstrations Google provided, the robot never identified itself as a robot. Does Google have the responsibility to disclose when its AI is posing as a human? Google said in an interview with CNET that it's looking into ways to be transparent and identify itself.

But if Google wanted to be transparent, why go through the extra steps of hiding the robot interface? Why not just make a smooth-sounding voice, rather than one that tries to act more human with "umms" and "mm-hmms." The computer voice even talks with "upspeak" -- a typical Valley girl trait of ending statements to sound like questions.

Does a company that wants to be transparent need to trick our ears into thinking a robot is human?


So, have we actually just witnessed the first successful passing of the Turing test?
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
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Re: Who is the bot?

Postby Rob Lister » Thu May 10, 2018 10:46 am

Anaxagoras wrote:More angst:
...
Does a company that wants to be transparent need to trick our ears into thinking a robot is human?


If most folks are like me, then yes. I hate talking to a robot. It stresses me out because I have zero confidence in it, can't interrupt it, have one chance of getting a response right, etc. I can't 'connect' to it emphatically. Best I not know.

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Rob Lister
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Re: Who is the bot?

Postby Rob Lister » Thu May 10, 2018 2:45 pm

Picked up on /.
If a Duplex realizes it's talking to another Duplex, will it go into 56K modem mode and just talk electronically?
https://tech.slashdot.org/story/18/05/0 ... ouncements

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Re: Who is the bot?

Postby Abdul Alhazred » Thu May 10, 2018 2:51 pm

Rob Lister wrote:Picked up on /.
If a Duplex realizes it's talking to another Duplex, will it go into 56K modem mode and just talk electronically?
https://tech.slashdot.org/story/18/05/0 ... ouncements


Or will it be like the bad old days of situations of closeted gays not being 100% certain and not trusting one another other? :notsure:
Image "If I turn in a sicko, will I get a reward?"

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Rob Lister
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Re: Who is the bot?

Postby Rob Lister » Thu May 10, 2018 3:05 pm

Abdul Alhazred wrote:
Rob Lister wrote:Picked up on /.
If a Duplex realizes it's talking to another Duplex, will it go into 56K modem mode and just talk electronically?
https://tech.slashdot.org/story/18/05/0 ... ouncements


Or will it be like the bad old days of situations of closeted gays not being 100% certain and not trusting one another other? :notsure:


I wouldn't know. Why would you ask me? Why not ask ed that. I bet ed knows.


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