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Google defends letting human workers listen to Assistant voice conversations

[2019.07.12, Fri 01:08] Google is defending its practice of letting human employees, most of which appear to be contract workers located around the globe, listen to audio recordings of conversations between users and its Google Assistant software. The response comes after revelations from Belgian public broadcaster VRT NWS detailed how contract workers in the country sometimes listen to sensitive audio captured by Google Assistant on accident. In a blog post published today, Google says it takes precautions to protect users identities and that it has "a a number of protections in place to prevent" so-called false accepts, which is when Google Assistant activates on a device like a Google Home speaker without the proper wake word having been intentionally verbalized by a user. The company also says it has human workers review these conversations to help Google's software operate in multiple languages. Google goes on to say it gives users a wide variety of tools to review the audio stored by Google Assistant devices, including the ability to delete those audio snippets manually and set up auto-delete timers. We don't know how many total Assistant conversations are reviewed by Google employees It's widely understood by those in the artificial intelligence industry that human annotators are required to help make sense of raw AI training data, and those workers are employed by companies like Amazon and Google, where they're given access to both audio conversations and text transcripts of some conversations between users and smart home devices. It's clear that owning a Google Home or a similar Assistant device and allowing it to listen to your sensitive daily conversations and verbalized internet requests involves at least some type of privacy compromise. Google the news >>

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