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Google Now Says Controversial AI Caller Will Identify Itself to Humans

Google CEO Sundar Pichai introduced Duplex earlier this week in the company's annual developer's conference Google I/O and demonstrated how the AI system could book an appointment at a salon

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Google's new Search feature gives single result to certain queries. Pixabay

In a bid to deliver transparency in technology and stay ahead of ethical pitfalls, Google has said that its Artificial Intelligence (AI) calling system “Duplex” would now identify itself while making appointments.

Following the launch of the “Duplex” system, which lets AI mimic a human voice to make appointments and book tables, among other functions, a widespread outcry over the ethical dilemmas were raised by tech critics.

Google clarified to The Verge that the experimental system would have a “disclosure built-in” that means that whenever Duplex gets involved in some type of verbal communication with a human at the other end, it would identify that the human is talking to an AI.

“We understand and value the discussion around Google Duplex, as we have said from the beginning, transparency in the technology is important,” a Google spokesperson was quoted as saying.

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Google. Pixabay

“We are designing this feature with disclosure built-in, and we will make sure the system is appropriately identified. What we showed at I/O was an early technology demo, and we look forward to incorporating feedback as we develop this into a product,” the spokesperson added.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai introduced Duplex earlier this week in the company’s annual developer’s conference Google I/O and demonstrated how the AI system could book an appointment at a salon and a table at a restaurant.

In the demo, the Google Assistant sounded like a human. It used Google DeepMind’s new WaveNet audio-generation technique and other advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP) to replicate human speech patterns.

Also Read: A Smarter Assistant to Offer 6 New Voices

However, tech critics raised questions on the morality of the technology saying it was developed without proper oversight or regulation.

According to tech critic Zeynep Tufekci, the demo was “horrifying” and the initial positive audience reaction at I/O was evidence that “Silicon Valley is ethically lost, rudderless and has not learned a thing”.

Google had originally said in a blog post written by engineers Yaniv Leviathan and Yossi Matias that “it’s important to us that users and businesses have a good experience with this service and transparency is a key part of that”. (IANS)

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Google Announces an Investment of $600 mn to Expand US Data Centre

To boost computer science education in the US, Google also announced on Thursday a $6 million grant to support 4-H, the largest youth development organisation in the US

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FILE - A woman walks past the logo for Google at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Nov. 5, 2018. VOA

As part of its plan to invest $13 billion in building new data centres and offices in over a dozen states in the US this year, Google has announced a fresh investment of $600 million to expand its data centre in Pryor, a city in Oklahoma.

The Pryor site is an important part of the company’s global network of data centers, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said on Thursday.

This network is what powers Google searches, email, all of the photos they store and treasure, and the maps that help people find their way home.

This new investment takes Google’s total investment in Oklahoma to over $3 billion.

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A man walks past a Google sign outside with a span of the Bay Bridge at rear in San Francisco, May 1, 2019. VOA

“Pryor is already home to one of Google’s largest data centers in the country. I am pleased to announce that we will be investing another $600 million to expand the data center here and create an additional 100 jobs for the Pryor community,” Pichai said.

“It’s part of our $13 billion investment in expanding our data centers across the US This week we also announced new investments in Michigan, and we’re breaking ground on a new data center in Texas,” he wrote in a blog post.

Also Read- Instagram Suffers a Major Outage with Users Around The World

To boost computer science education in the US, Google also announced on Thursday a $6 million grant to support 4-H, the largest youth development organisation in the US.

“This is our largest ever computer science education grant from Google.org. It will help ensure that young people in Oklahoma and 25 other states have access to the curriculum, training, and devices to learn and grow their coding skills,” Pichai said. (IANS)