Speak to me, robot: Startling Google Duplex demo raises endless concerns

A singular response

In the days after Google’ s ­­­­­­­­­startling demonstration of their very human-like  “Duplex” A.I. speech tech, the responses and concerns are rippling through the technosphere – and beyond. Reactions have ranged from wonder and amazement, to horror, according to one tech critic. Questions about the use and possible abuse of Duplex, which places AI very close to passing the Turing Test in our opinion, are building quickly. Should people be warned they are about to talk to a robot? Should the voice sound purposefully “synthetic,” like the device Stephen Hawking used? All good questions, and tough ones.

According to Bloomberg, ethical concerns and business opportunities are going to clash over this tech, which is still in development at Google; Duplex is not an app or program available to the public. Yet. But eventually, you can bet it will be. And down the road, people are wondering what else Duplex might be “too human” at: Writing books? Singing opera? Very convincing political robocalls? A bridge has been crossed, that’s for sure, but what kind of land we’re in now isn’t truly known, and it’s all thanks to a phone call to a hair salon. Hit the links below from more on the growing Duplex debate.

 Time for a Pixelwatch?

More google news now: Tech leaker Evan Blass, who has a solid track record of leaky things, is saying Google is likely to take aim at Apple (once again) with a new Smartwatch. Right now, Apple is dominating the segment – and, in truth, the entire watch industry as whole – and of course, Google would like a piece of that action. Blass says a reliable source tells him a Pixel-branded watch is in the works with a fall reveal at a Google hardware event.

And knowing Google, there will likely be a spread of models tailored for certain activities: Sports, leisure, maybe even kids. There are no specifics yet on watch features, prices, and so on, but it would make sense that Google would want in on the category, even if it’s not the hottest segment going right now. Because, like we’ve said before, eventually, pretty much anyone wearing a watch will be wearing a smartwatch.

Robot runaround

Yep, they’re back, even though they never really went away. Check out Boston Dynamics’s Atlas robot, going for a leisurely jog in the neighborhood, looking out for criminals, doing some log hopping, and just getting some exercise. The only thing missing? A robot dog! Oh, there he is, good boy. The jog-bot (it’s an upgraded “Atlas” humanoid model) continues Boston’s unbroken streak of creeping us the hell out while simultaneously fascinating us with the potential of these pre-Terminator machines. You know, just put some skin and simple muscles on it, add Google Duplex, and boom, it’s got your job. Welcome to the future.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.

Wearables

Focals succeed where Google Glass fumbled (but do we really need smartglasses?)

It’s been seven years since Google took the wraps off Google Glass. Now, we’re finally getting a modern-day equivalent we want to wear. North’s Focals combine subtle style with an intuitive interface to craft smartglasses you’ll…
Emerging Tech

Ant-inspired walking robot navigates without GPS by using polarized light

What do you get if you cross Boston Dynamics and Ant-Man? You get Antbot, a robot from the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) which uses ant-like navigation to move around without the aid of GPS.
Emerging Tech

Words are so 2018. The Peeqo robot speaks exclusively in GIFs and video clips

Move over, Amazon Echo! Peeqo is a cute robot that will answer your spoken word questions by displaying a specially selected short video or GIF. Because, you know, it’s the year 2019.
Smart Home

Let a robot do your chores! Here are the best robot vacuums for 2019

Robot vacuums are a convenient way to tidy up your home and minimize your weekly to-do list. From a top-of-the-line model to a handy budget option, here are the best robot vacuums you can buy right now.
Digital Trends Live

Original ‘Shark Tank’ star Kevin Harrington on what he loves about CES

Broadcasting from CES, the hosts of Digital Trends Live had a chance to talk to entrepreneur and original Shark Tank star Kevin Harrington about his love of trade shows and how he invests.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Highlights from day 2 of CES 2019 outline future of tech

In our second day of coverage for the annual tech conference in Las Vegas, Greg Nibler and Maude Garrett welcomed guests from industry leaders like Verizon, Intel, and Microsoft and we went out on the floor to discover new tech.
Digital Trends Live

TEST

  dsfsadfas
Digital Trends Live

On the last day of CES, Digital Trends Live hands out awards and more

On the third and final day of CES, the annual tech trade show in Las Vegas, the Digital Trends Live team interviewed guests, dissected all the trends on display at the show, and gave awards to the very best tech.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: New Motorola flip phone, ads in space, smart umbrella

On this episode of Digital Trends Live we discussed trending headlines like foldable smartphones and advertising in space. We also sat down with Caleb Denison and Ronan Glon to talk about the world of tech post CES 2019.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Netflix price hike, Starsona’s celeb connections, and more

On episode 48 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler, Adrien Warner, and Drew Prindle explored the tech news of the day, including Netflix’s controversial price hike, and an interview with Digital Domain’s Darren Hendler.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: The dark age of streaming, booze delivery, and more

On the latest episode of Digital Trends Live, DT's daily morning show, hosts Greg Nibler and Nicole Raney explored the biggest news from the tech world. On this week's episode: A massive data breach, the dark age of streaming, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Oscar nominations, the future of blockchain, and more

From Oscar nominations, to the latest Spotify and Uber features, there was a lot to discuss on this episode of Digital Trends Live. Journalist Rachel Wolfson also joined the show to talk about the future of cryptocurrency.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Double-folding phones, the best gaming laptops, and more

AirPod rumors and the latest news about foldable phones highlight Wednesday's episode of Digital Trends Live. We also sat down with Calvin Iverson to talk about how to travel on a budget and how millennials are changing the travel industry.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Amazon Scout, Soraya Darabi, and Joey Ricard

On episode 53 of Digital Trends Live, DT's live morning show, hosts Greg Nibler and Drew Prindle discussed the latest in tech news, including Amazon's new delivery drone, CRISPR babies, and more.