Science & Technology

How to Tell if You're Talking to a Computer

Arnold Schwarzenegger walks up to you and demands your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle. How are you supposed to know if you're talking to the actual Schwarzenegger or a Terminator robot who looks like Schwarzenegger?

An Australian technology company has designed a wearable device that looks like a black, high-tech hearing aid that can detect the voice of an artificial intelligence. It alerts you by cooling your skin.

AI Protecting Humans From AI

Appropriately dubbed "Anti AI AI," the device can detect the difference between human voices and computer-generated voices. In the near future, you will find yourselves speaking to AI voices more frequently than you may realize.

To tell the difference, you can use the Anti AI AI. A small indicator light glows green when you're listening to a human's voice. But if you're hearing the voice of a robot, a red light will appear and a thermoelectric plate will cool down. That cool tingle will let you all you Blade Runners know you're talking to a replicant.

To make the technology, the team at DT (now AKQA) created a circuit board that features an artificial neural network. Once it is trained to recognize human from robot voices, it's placed inside the listening device and attached to the thermoelectric plate. Right now, the device is connected to a simple mobile app, but the team is confident that once it's beyond the first prototype phase, the device itself can act without the app. The Anti AI AI will then improve independently as it collects data from real life.

Looking Ahead

This technology will be important for distinguishing computer-generated voices, but it's also a step towards visual AI identification as well. We're already extremely close to a time when you could see a video of a real person who looks authentic, but is actually a computer simulation.

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Written by Curiosity Staff July 12, 2017

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