News, Software

Google’s “robo-caller” will notify users when calls are recorded

Earlier this month, Google revealed it’s AI-based robo-caller Duplex. The company has since faced plenty of questions about how it works.

According to a report by Bloomberg, on Thursday, the Alphabet Inc. unit shared more details on how the Duplex robot-calling feature will operate when it’s released publicly. Duplex is an extension of the company’s voice-based digital assistant that automatically phones local businesses and speaks with workers there to book appointments.

At Google’s weekly TGIF staff meeting on Thursday, executives gave employees their first full Duplex demo and told them the bot would identify itself as the Google assistant.

In addition, it will also inform people on the phone that the line is being recorded in certain jurisdictions, sources said.

Google introduced Duplex earlier this month at its I/O developer conference, playing several clips of its assistant booking a hair cut and a restaurant table with impressively casual speech. The demo impressed developers, but mortified others who criticized Google for presenting an artificially intelligent bot that posed as human.

Two days after the demo, Google said the service will be “appropriately identified” on calls.

Bloomberg highlighted that the company also reassured staff that the Duplex team had been thinking about disclosure and ethical implications long before the reveal earlier this month.

Still, Google has yet to say whether the businesses used in its demos knew they were speaking with a Google bot or being recorded.

In a May 8 blog post about Duplex, Google said the service will benefit businesses that can’t book appointments online, giving them that option without additional expense or staff training. In the example where Duplex booked a hair appointment, the system said it was calling for “a client.” One of the people familiar with the situation said Google edited some of the recordings to protect the identity of the businesses involved.

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