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Google’s AI assistant Is a reminder that privacy and security are not the same

Jun 06, 2018

By Ajay Agrawal, NEXT Canada co-founder and Academic Director; Joshua Gans, NEXT Canada faculty member; and Professor Avi Goldfarb, NEXT Canada faculty member

Earlier this month, Google unveiled remarkable new capabilities for its automated assistant. They’re based on Google’s growing expertise in artificial intelligence (AI).

Perhaps the most dramatic, and, to look at the deluge of commentary, troubling, demonstration was the ability of Google AI to make phone calls that imitate a human. If you haven’t seen the demo, here’s a link. While we’re not there yet, in short order you’ll be able to instruct an AI to use an old technology (voice calls) to make appointments and handle other interactions on your behalf — interacting with other humans or, if the receiver wants, other AIs. Suffice it to say, there’s value in that.

So, what’s the concern? An AI that sounds human compromises both privacy and security. Although they’re often bundled together, privacy and security are different.

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