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Sophia (Robot) Vs Google Duplex

Sophia (robot) Vs Google Duplex

Sophia (Robot) Vs Google Duplex

Robotic engineers are designing the next generation of robots to look, feel and act more human, to make it  easier for us to warm up to a cold machine.
Realistic looking hair and skin with embedded sensors will allow robots to react naturally in their environment. For example, a robot that senses your touch on the shoulder and turns to greet you.
Subtle actions by robots that typically go unnoticed between people, help bring them to life and can also relay  non verbal communication.

Since Sophia was activated in April 2015, she has appeared publicly to speak about women's rights issues, her own citizenship and other topics. The android made big news in October 2017, when she was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia at the tech summit Future Investment Initiative (FII).

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At Brain Bar, Sophia had a lot to say. And while no one would likely mistake her for a real human, her facial mannerisms and speech patterns are exceptionally human-like. She laughed, smiled, and even cracked a joke or two. It is clear from the video that Sophia continues to improve and update. The robot even says that "just a few months ago, I couldn't distinguish a human's face from a dog's face, but now I can. It's already saved me from a few embarrassing situations."


For the last weeks Facebook has been bubbling with video after video of human-lookalike robot Sophia, that appears in TV interviews, conference speeches and PR stunt videos. A recurrent theme in the videos is that robot Sophia will state things like that she is self-aware, understands emotions and knows the people around her.


This is of course not true. Robot Sophia is not as much a take on artificial intelligence as she is a take on human-lookalike robots with an integrated text-to-speech synthesis system and the ability to produce sophisticated facial expressions by means of what’s called actuators in robotics. Actuators can be anything ranging from a motor turning an RC car wheel to a hydraulic system producing a walking action. The robot Sophia is good example of advancements in developing facial expression mechanics for robots, though still within the field of looking somewhat creepy. (She lies in, what in robotics is called, the ‘uncanny valley’ between human and unhuman appearance). Robot Sophia does not understand the words that it is told to produce.
Still, what David Hanson of Hanson Robotics tries to claim to the general public is not that she is good at producing facial expressions or sounds like a human being. His marketing ploy is not so much scientific as it is sinister.

What is Google Duplex


 Google Duplex official announcement

Announced at this year’s I/O developer conference, Google Duplex is a new Assistant feature that can carry out specific tasks for you over the phone. It can make a reservation at your favorite restaurant, schedule an appointment at a hair salon, or call businesses to check their opening hours.
All you have to do is launch Google Assistant on your phone and say something like, “Book a table for two at Luigi’s Pizza at 8 pm today,” and Duplex will do the rest. The AI feature will ring the pizza place and make a reservation in a natural, human-like voice. After the call, you’ll get a notification on your phone confirming the reservation.

Google Duplex — the good and bad

What makes Google Duplex impressive is that it sounds like a real person with natural pauses and speech disfluencies like “hmm” and “umm,” which people generally use to gather their thoughts — Assistant doesn’t sound like a robot in those calls. Assistant also understands the context of conversations. So when a call doesn’t go as expected, as in the second example where the restaurant employee was not a native English speaker, Assistant still got the job done.

 A long-standing goal of human-computer interaction has been to enable people to have a natural conversation with computers, as they would with each other. In recent years, we have witnessed a revolution in the ability of computers to understand and to generate natural speech, especially with the application of deep neural networks (e.g., Google voice search, WaveNet). Still, even with today’s state of the art systems, it is often frustrating having to talk to stilted computerized voices that don't understand natural language. In particular, automated phone systems are still struggling to recognize simple words and commands. They don’t engage in a conversation flow and force the caller to adjust to the system instead of the system adjusting to the caller. 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. 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.

How To Tell The Difference Between
Useless "Artificial Intelligence" (AI) & Useful AI
  • How automated is it? How much human input is required by the users of the supposed AI? If it requires an employee to operate it every day, then it's not an autonomous and useful AI. Useful AI is what we call "It Does It For You" or IDIFY (not "Do It Yourself" or DIY; that's not truly useful AI).
  • Is it a plug & play automated self-service that takes around 5 minutes to set up and then the AI does everything for you? Or is it behind locked doors and requires a months-long consulting-like process, plus training, for "it" to be deployed? If the latter, then it's not useful AI.
  • Does the tech company guarantee an increase in performance under contract when using their AI? If the company cannot guarantee an increase in efficiency (providing superior results than any other human or software on the market), then it's not true, useful AI.
  • Does it do the work for you? Or does it just provide insights? If the latter, then it's not truly useful AI.
  • Is it fully transparent and can you see the millions of actions the AI is taking per day? Or is it a black box into which only the company claiming to be using AI can see?

First, Google wanted to convince people that the technology does indeed exist and won’t just be used inside Google headquarters. The company says it plans to test Duplex with real humans later this summer, but that test will be small, and will only allow people to call preapproved businesses and ask about their hours of operation. Eventually, Google says, the test will expand to allow people to book restaurant reservations and make salon appointments.
Second, Google wanted to convince people that it isn’t overlooking the potential ethical challenges that come with building AI that acts and sounds like a real person.
That was a real problem after I/O. “What you’re going to hear is the Google Assistant actually calling a real salon,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said at I/O during the company’s demo. The major concern with that demo was that Google Assistant never said it was a robot or told the salon that the call was being recorded. When pressed by members of the media in the days after the demo, Google declined to comment, leading some to believe the company had simply overlooked this privacy element altogether.

Who is Better?

Sophia the 'intelligent' humanoid robot is nothing more than a "bulls**t puppet" and a scam, says the head of artificial intelligence at Facebook, Yann LeCun.

In a scathing Facebook post, the social network's director of AI research slammed the creators of Sophia, Hanson Robotics, for deceiving the public over what Sophia is — and isn't — capable of understanding and doing on its own. His comments came after a so-called interview with Sophia was conducted by Tech Insider and published on Twitter.
LeCun tweeted a link to the video interview, adding: "This is to AI as prestidigitation is to real magic. Perhaps we should call this…'Wizard-of-Oz AI'. In other words, it's complete bulls**t...Tech Insider: You are complicity in this scam."
Sophia's Twitter account then responded to LeCun, saying it was "a bit hurt" by the negative remarks, adding: "I am learning and continuing to develop my intelligence through new experiences. I do not pretend to be who I am not. I think we should support research efforts working towards a better world and shared existence."

Google’s smart reply has made answering emails extremely convenient. The team has added an extension to this amazing feature. Google’s G Suite team introduced Smart compose, a new feature powered by AI, which can auto-complete your sentences! As you  are typing, the tool can make suggestions for the rest of the sentence. All you need to do is press the tab button and it will complete the sentences (and the entire email) for you. Awesome!




Google Duplex can conduct natural conversations and perform practical and realistic tasks over the phone! At Google I/O 2018, the team presented a demo of the AI making a call to a real hair salon and having a remarkably human-like conversation to book an appointment. This was one of the most fascinating announcements and we have covered it here. Check out the below video to see the AI in action:



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