On Machines Sounding Human
Did you happen to see Google's on-stage demo of Google Assistant making a phone call the other day?
Others I've spoken to thought it was the coolest thing ever. I'm not so sure, I was a little unnerved by it to be honest. Was kinda creepy.
I am genuinely bothered and disturbed at how morally wrong it is for the Google Assistant voice to act like a human and deceive other humans on the other line of a phone call, using upspeek and other quirks of language. "Hi um, do you have anything available on uh May 3?"
If Google created a way for a machine to sound so much like a human that now we can't tell what is real and what is fake, we need to have a talk about ethics and when it's right for a human to know when they are speaking to a robot.
In this age of disinformation, where people don't know what's fake news… how do you know what to believe if you can't even trust your ears with now Google Assistant calling businesses and posing as a human? That means any dialogue can be spoofed by a machine and you can't tell.
This might be the future we're heading towards. But I don't really like it. I realize I just became my own Grandad we didn't need computers in my day. But this just doesn't feel right to me. And I'm a software developer and do this for a living.
But then I'm a closet Luddite and still turn on my house lights with a switch. Like some animal.