And sure, this could be some kind of coincidence. There could be
two noodle places, both within a short drive of the Googleplex,
that both have booths, salmon colored walls, and that same
painting and frame.
That’s why I called Hongs Gourmet.
When I did, a woman answered the phone. After explaining I was a
reporter with Mashable and that I was curious about Google
employees eating there after using an AI to make a reservation,
she told me she’d put me on the phone with Victor.
Victor got on the phone, and I explained the Google blog post and
photo and asked him if the AI had made the reservation there. He
replied in the affirmative.
I also asked him if Google had let him know about the planned
Duplex test in advance, and he replied, “no, of course no.”
When I asked him to confirm one more time that Duplex had called
Hongs Gourmet, he appeared to get nervous and immediately said he
needed to go. He then hung up the phone.
Regarding Google, this raises some questions. How many real-world businesses has Google Duplex been calling and not identifying itself as an AI, leaving people to think they’re actually speaking to another human? I’m not entirely sure that’s ethically wrong, but I lean toward yes, it is wrong, especially while the product is at an experimental stage. I’m not alone. And if “Victor” is correct that Hong’s Gourmet had no advance knowledge of the call, Google may have violated California law by recording the call.