Have you heard about the latest problem (for some)/product (for others) from Google? This one actually may be a huge pivot for Google, because this could organize people’s lives significantly. It’s called Google Duplex. Here is Google’s definition of it from their A.I. blog:
Today we announce Google Duplex, a new technology for conducting natural conversations to carry out “real world” tasks over the phone. The technology is directed towards completing specific tasks, such as scheduling certain types of appointments. For such tasks, the system makes the conversational experience as natural as possible, allowing people to speak normally, like they would to another person, without having to adapt to a machine.
Here is their presentation they made.
[Video via YouTube]
So What Does This Mean For Churches?
The easy answer is: “right now, nothing.” Google is restricting how it can be used. Again, from their blog, they state:
One of the key research insights was to constrain Duplex to closed domains, which are narrow enough to explore extensively. Duplex can only carry out natural conversations after being deeply trained in such domains. It cannot carry out general conversations.
But one of the biggest concerns is the ethics of Google A.I. I’m not talking about recording phone calls without notifying people (though the ethics are murky at best. I’m talking about how this makes a bot sound like a person. People during the I/O conference cheered. But the lines between people and technology is starting to seriously be blurred.
But as Marques Brownlee states in the video below, “you will never have to talk to a service or place ever again.” And this is just the beginning, I have no doubt Google will continue to add more services. We certainly are moving more towards Star Trek, now the question is if this is okay for our souls?
[Video via YouTube]
I Don’t Know, I Write This To Start A Conversation
I wonder what you think of the theological and relational implications of this. Some, like myself, believe you can have a relationship with someone online, but this is completely divorcing yourself from interacting with people by allowing a bot to do your conversing. Others say this is us losing all relationship skills completely, first with Twitter and now this.