1. At Google IO, I realized Artificial Intelligence is ready….is society ready?
Did you watch the key note speech at Google IO? Some amazing leaps and bounds in the world of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). One demo in particularly stuck out to me was when they presented an audio recording of a Google Assistant making a phone call to a restaurant to make a reservation for a Google user. The employee at the restaurant who answered the phone had no idea she was talking to a computer! Without knowing to be looking for computer related “tells” there was no way to know this was a computer in this demo. The way the computer communicated and adjusted for the conversation felt lifelike. Google will be attempting to make this service available to anybody using the Google Assistant for free…meaning a lot of these calls in the very near future will be calling small businesses. There are a boatload ethics questions about this service that will force society to address, I personally don’t think its fair for a human to unknowingly have empathy/concern for a machine in the same way a human does for another human. We will see how this plays out, it is definitely a new territory small businesses will have to deal with in the very new future.
** Apparently I wasn’t the only one with concerns regarding this technology, Google has released the following statement:
We understand and value the discussion around Google Duplex — as we’ve said from the beginning, transparency in the technology is important. We are designing this feature with disclosure built-in, and we’ll make sure the system is appropriately identified. What we showed at I/O was an early technology demo, and we look forward to incorporating feedback as we develop this into a product.
It’s great that Google says they are going to voluntarily self-police, however large tech companies have a history of not self-policing even when they say they are. I would still feel more comfortable if laws were in place to protect customers rather than relying on self regulation.
2. Google’s Assistant will be worth planning for
Google definitely wowed the audience with the “phone call” to the restaurant demo, but it will be adding many more features to the Google Assistant. For companies who are concerned with gaining customers via search results, paid advertisements or showing up on the map, they will also need to start taking consideration for the assistant as a new way to gain customers. The way people search for things as first stage is growing rapidly via various assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant. This new form of “search” has been termed “Duplex Conversations” Alexa is winning, but Google Assistant has a much larger presence on phone and they will soon be leverage that in the months to come as the pour in many more resources now that Alexa has proved that people will participate in these Duplex conversations.
3. Google AR Core has made it much easier for developers to play with Augmented Reality…but it’s not there yet.
Google has introduced a new code library to make developing Augmented Reality solutions a lot easier. For a person like me who spent a lot of time messing with VR 20+ years ago at Sun Microsystems…this was very exciting to play with. However from a small business standpoint, the applications aren’t there yet. To use augmented reality, you need a devices strong enough to support the computations required. At the moment, very few phones other than the super phones can do this leaving a very limited audience. For the phones that can support the technology, what can be made is still somewhat limited to showcase style presentations in a small window. The wow factor isn’t there yet, but as a novelty it is fun. But not ready for building a business around.
4. Google’s DialogFlow service could help you with some customer service tasks
The new DialogFlow API is the service behind the phone call made by Google’s AI assistant. Not only will this technology be part of voice conversations, but it can also power chat conversations and email conversations. Soon programmers will also be able to offer services using the DialogFlow API which is extremely powerful. It’s uncertain where that will lead, but the potential is high.
5. How fast your webpage loads matters
As cited in this Google video by the Google search engine engineer, how fast your page loads matters. If you don’t believe me ( and want to stick with your wi x/sq uare space site)…that’s on you. It is a ranking factor in Google search results, and it is also a factor on how much a viewer subconsciously trusts your business and will want to believe in what you do. Imagine going to a business meeting and looking like a slob…not the best way to leave a positive impression. So if you are thinking of saving a few bucks a month with a “good enough” solution…think again.
6. Mobile Testing Matters for Search Results
As noted in the video below…Google is switching to indexing websites with mobile search bots as the primary way it tests its websites for the being placed in search engines. That means you as a business owner need to test your website in a mobile testing system. Thankfully Google has create a website app to conduct testing of webpages in a mobile simulation. Try it by going here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
The future is exciting and the tools Google is releasing and putting in the hands of developers who want to be on the bleeding edge of technology is power. But like Spiderman’s Uncle said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
How responsible people will be with the new technology is still uncertain.