It’s safe to say that the most impressive thing shown off at Google I/O this year was the awesome demo of Google Duplex and the Google Assistant interacting with humans to book hair appointments and dinner reservations. Despite the potential of such a mind-blowing demo, some complained that the AI hadn’t identified itself and that it was unethical to have humans in the dark about the computer on the other end of the phone. Google later said that it would identify when the AI was calling in the future. Now some are crying foul about Google’s demo with allegations that the entire thing was faked.
Some are unhappy that Google won’t provide the most basic sort of evidence to prove that its demo was real. There are those out there calling for Google to reveal the name of the two businesses used in the demos. Supporters of Google say that it wouldn’t be right for Google to release information on the businesses, as they could be bombarded with calls asking about the interaction and negatively impact their operations.
What some are finding incredibly suspicious about the interactions is that the people who answer the calls never identify the business that is being called. Typically when you call a business the person answering the phone will say the business name and their own name; nothing of that sort was said by the people answering these calls. When the hair salon demo call was answered, the woman simply says “Hello, how can I help you?” and when the restaurant call is answered the woman says “Hi, may I help you?”
Another thing that detractors are citing is that the calls have no ambient noise in the recordings as you would typically expect in a busy hair salon or restaurant. In addition, neither business in the demos asked for the customer’s phone number or contact information. Google has declined to comment on either business name or if either call was edited, even to cut out references to people saying the business name. The fact that Google won’t answer basic questions such as these is only fueling the the calls that something was amiss with the demo.