Google Duplicitous

I can’t recall the last time I was so creeped out by a technology as I am by Google Duplex—the AI that can make reservations over the phone by pretending to be a human.

I’m not sure what’s disturbing me more: the technology itself, or the excited reaction of tech bros who can’t wait to try it.

Thing is …when these people talk about being excited to try it, I’m pretty sure they are only thinking of trying it as a caller, not a callee. They aren’t imagining that they could possibly be one of the people on the other end of one of those calls.

The visionaries of technology—Douglas Engelbart, J.C.R Licklider—have always recognised the potential for computers to augment humanity, to be bicycles for the mind. I think they would be horrified to see the increasing trend of using humans to augment computers.

Have you published a response to this? :


I’m looking forward to Amazon releasing Aplex to handle the receiving end of these calls, then all phone calls will devolve into computers talking to each other in creepy voices.

Dan Brickley

i get the same feeling whenever i call and get routed to a data centre, and you speak to a human being used as a meat wrapper ui around some computer system, and no autonomy allowed. I’m more concerned about the impact on jobs; crappy jobs are still jobs.