What Google Assistant calls will actually be like


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/10/what-google-assistant-calls-wi.html


#2

Google Assistant calls, Google Assistant answers.

Would you like a game of chess?


#3

The thing is this: if humans don’t know they’re talking to robots, they won’t talk in a way robots will understand…

Are you implying people talk in ways a human will understand? I can think of some counterexamples.


#4

Or maybe we will figure it and just laugh when Lisa shows up looking for a haircut at the car shop.


#5

We have already seen where that scenario goes.

Bob: i can i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to
Bob: you i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Alice: balls have a ball to me to me to me to me to me to me to me
Bob: i i can i i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Alice: balls have a ball to me to me to me to me to me to me to me
Bob: i . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to
Bob: you i i i i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Alice: balls have 0 to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to
Bob: you i i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to


#6

I think you’re being overly optimistic.


#7

We can only hope. Of course the reality will instead involve weaponizing Google Assistant. Wasting some car repair owner’s time (and sending someone to get a haircut at a garage) is the optimal scenario.


#8

People talk in a way that they think will be understood. Which is why shitty American tourists talking loud and slow and in other countries is such a thing.


#9

I don’t give a toss about their NLP interface. I don’t call enough things for this to be remotely a useful tool. I want that voice synthesis to read me articles and books and things while I walk. I am an audiobook and podcast addict, and having the ability to have a natural voice read me my favorite blogs and things would be worth a mint to me.


#10

What if companies use it to replace their voice mail hell of touch tone menus? Google Receptionist.

Naturally it would suck, but would be be worse than those “If you’re calling about … press 1,…” menus?

ETA: Come to think of it, why wouldn’t a receptionist app be the first thing they thought rather than this goofy assistant? I wonder if there’s a patent problem with the old voice recognition cartel preventing that?


#11

I already get computers calling me, almost every day, pretending that they are human. Unfortunately I don’t actually understand Chinese so I can’t critique their algorithms beyond – WHY THE FUCK ARE THEY TRYING TO SPEAK TO ME IN CHINESE?!?


#12

As the voice synthesis becomes even better, this will become a widespread telemarketing tool.

Bob: Hello?
Bot: (Accessing Bob’s Facebook connections) Hi, this is Suzan, I’m a friend of Fred Smith and he suggested I call you.
Bob: Sure, what can I help you with?
Bot: Well last week Fred was telling me …

It will be maddening.


#13

The worst is when they make you sit through a long introductory spiel. Even if you know the menu options, they don’t always let you press them right away. Like my credit card company insisting on reading me an account summary when I just want to let them know I’m traveling, or my allergist reading my a speech about their address, what to do in an emergency, and how hospital policies have recently changed.


#14

No, I want to play Global Thermonuclear War.


#15

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