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News Google Assistant will be able to make appointment phone calls for you

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Old May 9th, 2018 (3:23 PM).
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So this was an interesting thing that came out of Google's I/O conference this week. Apparently Google has been training its AI to make simple phone calls for users. In the video, in case you can't watch it, the assistant calls on its own and makes a hair appointment, complete with realistic pauses and intonation. There are other videos that show it dealing with a heavy accent when trying to make a reservation, and so on. Although it'll only work in very narrow parameters, apparently it works very well. Google itself has not confirmed whether this will release in full to the public or will remain a tech demo. (And it remains to be seen if it will work as well as they show in this example--some of us might recall the instant translation feature of the Google Pixel earbuds that apparently did not work so well in the wild.)

So tht's... interesting! My very first thought when I saw this was "man, I wish this existed a decade ago when my phone anxiety was still really bad". But I've also seen a lot of people talk about how it seems unethical to not tell the person on the other end that they're basically being robocalled. There's a lot to unpack. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Would you use it? If you work in a job where you answer phones for purposes like this, would you want to speak to a robot?
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Old May 10th, 2018 (2:56 AM).
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This is interesting; hopefully, none of it is watered-down during time of release.
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Old May 10th, 2018 (3:33 PM).
Patchisou Yutohru Patchisou Yutohru is offline
 
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So cool. The updates to Photos like taking a picture of a document and saving it as a PDF and the Google Lens feature make me really want to switch to Android, and I was already considering that.
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Old May 10th, 2018 (6:27 PM).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patchisou Yutohru View Post
So cool. The updates to Photos like taking a picture of a document and saving it as a PDF and the Google Lens feature make me really want to switch to Android, and I was already considering that.
I really like that Google Photos also allows you to create picture books and order them as well, it's great for making a quick gift if you have lots of photos. I'd love to try Google Lens but I don't have a Pixel phone sadly.
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Old May 10th, 2018 (8:49 PM).
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    Google Assistant has grown to fast! :P
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    Old May 11th, 2018 (1:04 PM).
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    I'm sure prank callers are going to find a way to make the most out of this if it gets released to the public.
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    Old May 11th, 2018 (4:38 PM).
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      I'm a bit uncomfortable that Google Assistant would be making an unsupervised encounter with another human posing as me, without me being able to tap into the conversation ... But it is progress!
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      Old May 12th, 2018 (7:37 PM).
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        I don't understand why people think it's unethical to not know it's a robot that's making an appointment with you. Even if the argument is something like 'well, it could be automated to make fake appointments', sure, but so could a random minimum wage worker call to make random appointments with you.

        Can someone explain?

        I do agree that I'd like to be able to hear the conversation or get a transcript of it just to make sure it didn't do anything weird, though. Always good to be able to check in later.
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        Old May 12th, 2018 (8:20 PM).
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        Quote:
        Originally Posted by Autumne View Post
        I don't understand why people think it's unethical to not know it's a robot that's making an appointment with you. Even if the argument is something like 'well, it could be automated to make fake appointments', sure, but so could a random minimum wage worker call to make random appointments with you.

        Can someone explain?

        I do agree that I'd like to be able to hear the conversation or get a transcript of it just to make sure it didn't do anything weird, though. Always good to be able to check in later.
        I think the argument goes is that it's deceitful that Google Assistant doesn't announce itself first before speaking with whoever's on the other end, therefore tricking them into thinking it's a human when it isn't.

        Of course, Google quelled those concerns anyway by announcing that it's going to make Assistant identify itself first. How that is going to work is another thing altogether though, because if you know you're talking to a robot, you're most likely to hang up and not listen to them.

        So this is a delicate balance for Google, and I wonder if they can make it work.
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        Old May 12th, 2018 (9:39 PM).
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          I think the argument goes is that it's deceitful that Google Assistant doesn't announce itself first before speaking with whoever's on the other end, therefore tricking them into thinking it's a human when it isn't.

          Of course, Google quelled those concerns anyway by announcing that it's going to make Assistant identify itself first. How that is going to work is another thing altogether though, because if you know you're talking to a robot, you're most likely to hang up and not listen to them.

          So this is a delicate balance for Google, and I wonder if they can make it work.
          I guess I just don't understand why it's a problem at all if it's a human or a robot. I don't understand why it matters any more than it would to identify yourself as a member of a certain occupation or group to make an appointment to have your hair cut.

          I do agree though that if they do open with 'by the way, I'm a robot' it's not going to work because people will just hang up.

          As much as I think the fact it's a robot doesn't matter, I also know that a lot of people definitely -do- think it matters, specifically so they can not interact with it.
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          Old May 13th, 2018 (12:54 AM).
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          Quote:
          Originally Posted by Autumne View Post
          I guess I just don't understand why it's a problem at all if it's a human or a robot. I don't understand why it matters any more than it would to identify yourself as a member of a certain occupation or group to make an appointment to have your hair cut.
          Personally I don't think it should matter, but other people like to raise a ruckus because technology is advancing much more rapidly than some of us are prepared for and this is pretty much an example of that in their eyes.
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          Old May 14th, 2018 (6:27 AM).
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          As long as it's an opt-in/opt-out on the office's end, and the user's end, then by all means I am for this. I work in an area where clients can make appointments, and it'd be interesting to see how this would work out.
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          Old May 14th, 2018 (3:34 PM).
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          As long as it's an opt-in/opt-out on the office's end, and the user's end
          Not to say that it isn't possible, but I can't imagine Google really jumping through hoops to do this.
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          Old May 14th, 2018 (9:48 PM).
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          Supposedly, you can easily figure out if you're talking to a robot by simply asking for clarification. If they try to reword themselves then chances are, you're talking to a human.

          Honestly, I can't really see myself using one of these. The only interesting thing would be if they were able to deal with support. As a class C customer I just can't be bothered waiting half an hour in line just to get someone on the phone that's willing to help me.

          But sadly, I doubt this is going to be possible anytime soon.
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          Old May 15th, 2018 (4:47 AM).
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          But sadly, I doubt this is going to be possible anytime soon.
          Most (?) call centers have this thing where you get a call back whenever it's your turn instead of actually being on physical hold which is significantly less painful.
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          Old May 15th, 2018 (8:38 PM).
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          Most (?) call centers have this thing where you get a call back whenever it's your turn instead of actually being on physical hold which is significantly less painful.
          In the US? I'll believe you on that. In the majority of western countries? Probably. In that country right in the middle of Europe where internet is in many regions still crappy and where technology is still considered undiscovered territory? Ahahahahanope!
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          Old May 16th, 2018 (8:58 AM).
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          Most (?) call centers have this thing where you get a call back whenever it's your turn instead of actually being on physical hold which is significantly less painful.
          I know this concept exists, but I haven't heard of anyone else really using it other than Amazon.
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