Since Google Assistant became bilingual, many users have been reporting unsettling behavior from their AI powered smart speakers
AI Assistants are handy little things. Once you get past the privacy implications of having a device that is always listening in your home, the benefits are quite impressive. From the basics like playing music or the latest news, to the more complicated tasks like dimming your lights or turning the heating on before you get home from work, having an AI assistant can make you feel a little like Tony Stark or a “Star Trek” captain.
As the list of skills gets bigger and bigger, however, we may need to start thinking about the strain we’re placing on our digital friends. Google’s recent move to make its AI Assistant bilingual, and able to help users in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Japanese may have pushed it a little too far. According to Tech Radar, since the bilingual feature was introduced, people have been reporting some rather strange behavior from their Google Assistants.
Google turned on bilingual on August 30. Since then, some users have reported that Assistant has been responding to their queries in strange voices and even with strange accents. One user said her Assistant was talking in a male voice with an American accent despite being set to British female. Others have reported random switching between accents and flat refusals to switch back.
Google acknowledged that there is a problem after a lot of users took to the official Google Assistant forum to complain. If hearing a strange voice talk back to you would freak you out, imagine the poor users who have been repeatedly ignored by their Google Assistant, even after they say the “OK, Google” wake word.
It wasn’t too long ago that people were bugging out because Amazon’s Alexa was creepily laughing and nobody could figure out why. Are the robots learning how to mock us and biding their time until they’ll strike us down and take over the planet or is it just a bit of mixed up code?
No matter how impressive our digital assistants may be, you simply can’t compare current artificial intelligence to human intelligence. They are not comparable entities. There isn’t really a brain powering the responses our AI assistants give us. All that is happening is all the possible responses are considered and the correct one is given. At least, that is how it is supposed to work. Sometimes things can get a little mixed up. You can breathe easy, the robots are not going to kill us. At least the AI Assistants aren’t, anyway.