Speech technology in the era of Big Data

Public interest in speech technology recently increased dramatically, as Google Duplex was demonstrated, and elicited a wide range of reactions. Most observers were stunned at the apparent sophistication and power of the application, which can book appointments over the telephone by “conducting natural conversations” (to quote the Google blog that accompanied the public release of Duplex). However, Duplex also generated substantial controversy, with criticisms ranging from concerns about ethics (is Duplex misleading people into thinking that they are talking to a human?) to privacy (how much consent is required from the companies that are called by Duplex?), all the way to feasibility (were the Duplex demonstrations faked, or at least edited to a substantial degree?)

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