GOOGLE ASSISTANT users will be pleased to hear about a new addition to its skill set. It can now fire your weaponry for you.
In the demonstration below, you can see that by saying "OK Google, activate gun", the obedient assistant is able to sound a buzzer and then fire a gun before she can even finish saying "Sure, turning on gun".
We understand that "Hey Google, activate gun" will also work.
OK. Joke over. Of course, this isn't an officially sanctioned Google skill, but rather a piece of art by a chap called Alexander Ruben.
He told Engadget (who we imagine were ducking at the time): "The discourse around such a(n) apparatus is more important than its physical presence."
The idea is that it's meant to strike up a discourse about the boundaries that AI should be facing. Is it right that a piece of technology should be able to fire a weapon when it doesn't understand what it's doing? That's some cold-blooded right there.
No specialist equipment was needed. The smart plug (looks like a TP-Link) usually used for his lamp, some string, and a solenoid from a change machine (ok a little bit specialist then). The rest was a clamp for the gun and some safety precautions.
He points out that it could easily have been Amazon Alexa. It could have been a massage chair or an ice cream maker, but it wasn't. It was a gun. And programming it is just as easy.
And once it's armed - there's no guarantee that Google Assistant will take orders from the right person to fire it. Google does recognise individual voices, but is it perfect? No.
"Part of the message for me includes the unintended consequences of technology and the futility of considering every use case," he continues.
At a time when the ethics of AI remain up for debate, the idea of doing something so dramatic with Google Assistant serves as a reminder that we've got a long way to go before we can live side by side with intelligent technology. µ
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