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Marketplace.org | 05.23.18

Should a machine have to tell you if it’s a machine?

Jacob Metcalf

Data & Society Researcher Jacob Metcalf was interviewed on Marketplace Tech about bots and ethics.

“You know, what’s odd about the product that Google showed at their IO conference is that it doesn’t put that signaling up front. And so, you kind of have to conclude that that means they put in effort, in fact a lot of effort, in order to hide the fact that it is a bot. Something is accomplished by the fact that it’s not obvious to the person on the other end that they’re talking to an automated machine. None of that conversation required the machine to insert “ahs” and “ums” as if it was a human. So then why are they trying to imitate a human? Is it because it looks cool? Or is it because the product’s more effective if it’s deceptive? And is that a tradeoff that we should accept as society?”

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