Last week, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt explained that Google is working on a new generation of super smart “machine learning” apps that will create “something that’s better than what humans can do.”
Today, we bring you a mind-blowing example of that.
Reddit user “barney13” was experimenting with all the voice commands in Google Now and Google Photos. He’s got an Android phone and pretty much uses all of the Google services, Gmail, Drive, YouTube, Google Now and Google Photos, which automatically uploads and geotags his photos.
He was asking Google Now to show him photos from various trips he took. He asked to see his photos of San Francisco, and they appeared. He asked to see photos of Spain. There they were.
Then he asked to see photos of Nice, France.
Out of the blue, before Google showed him those photos, Google Now’s woman’s voice said something that made him cry.
She said, “According to Gmail, firstly let me express my deepest sympathy to you, your mum and the whole family at your loss. Your dad was a fantastic man, as I am sure you already know.”
His dad had died in an accident in Nice, France in 2010.
Google Now was offering him condolences on the death of his dad before showing him what could be emotionally charged photos.
“Mind. Blown. I’m sad, I’m amazed, I’m taken back. What a lovely moment for some automated robot voice to express it’s sympathy to me,” he said.
He also explained, “It turns out she read out a snippet from an email I received from a family friend soon after my dad’s death. But the fact that she knew to say it was pretty staggering. It was in the third paragraph of an email sent to me back in December 2010.”
We can’t help but compare this nuanced response from Google’s bot with the racist rants emitted by Microsoft’s Tay chatbot earlier this month, after online troublemakers gamed the bot and caused it to go rogue. Microsoft quickly took the bot online, but the incident made it look like bots have a long way to go before they can be trusted to understand human behaviour.
Google demonstrates that some bots already “get” us.
On the other hand, this story also proves that “Google knows everything,” about each and every one of us, even when and where our parents died, writes barney13. But having experienced it, he says “I’m not scared of it knowing everything quite so much anymore.”
Because this is Reddit, the crowd demanded proof of Google Now’s touching message. So “barney13” uploaded this YouTube video.