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Google Duplex

Google Duplex concerns

Published by Vincent Pickering

On the Google blog explaining how Google Duplex works, this line jumps out at me.

... To obtain its high precision, we trained Duplex’s RNN on a corpus of anonymized phone conversation data ...

A number of concerns arise from this statement:

  • How did Google acquire phone data?
  • Anonymised or not, the data must still be real conversations, with real people talking to each other or it would be useless to them.
  • In order to continue training the code to pretend to be human in other circumstances Google will need to acquire ever more phone conversation data. This feels quite a contentious issue, especially around consent.

Personally, I would always want to know when I am talking to a machine and when it is a human.