Google revealed a vision for artificial intelligence that was simultaneously exciting and controversial at its developer confab on Tuesday.
The Google Assistant called a hair salon to make an appointment and then called a restaurant to find out about table availability. The performances did more than steal the show. They also overshadowed everything Microsoft announced about AI at its own conference this week.
"Google reaffirmed its leadership position in AI," as Atlantic Equities analyst James Cordwell put it in a Wednesday note. Cordwell's note made no mention of Microsoft.
Media outlets were quick to point out that Google did not disclose to people on the other end of the calls that the caller was a computer program, not a person, even though it did sound surprisingly natural. The underlying issue? People might not treat automated calls in the same way that they would human ones. Two days after the presentation, Google, which plans to test the technology this summer, clarified that it will make sure to let people know whenever it's the Asssitant calling and not an actual person.