back to article Google finally touts $150 pint-sized Linux dev board with Edge TPU AI math copro brains

Google on Wednesday emitted a TensorFlow preview, finally put its Edge TPU hardware on sale, and rolled out its dreaded robo-caller Duplex – all amid its annual Tensorflow developer conference in Silicon Valley. Here’s a quick summary of what you should know. TensorFlow 2.0 teaser: If you’re waiting for TensorFlow 2.0, Google …

  1. Joe W Silver badge

    Another idea

    Many believe that’s a bad idea, and so Google has provided a way for company owners to opt out of the thing.

    Here is another idea: when such a thing calls you, refuse the booking. Yeah, you are "losing" a customer that way - actually that person would not have booked a table at your place in person anyway.

    On the other hand, I would actually find this useful. I usually think of these things (hotel or restaurant reservations, doctor appointments) when the places are closed. So getting somebody else to do it for me would be nice. I guess the robocaller can access Google's database with opening hours, and thus know when (not) to call.

    1. Joe Gurman

      Re: Another idea

      More likely, Google will also sell an AI assistant answering agent for businesses, so human beings never have to be involved in the booking process. Who knows what great hilarity might ensue?

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Another idea

      Here is another idea: when such a thing calls you, refuse the booking. Yeah, you are "losing" a customer that way - actually that person would not have booked a table at your place in person anyway.

      The thing is, the restaurant actually hears a very close approximation of a human being so, unless the state where they live actually has laws saying the callee must be told they're talking to a robot and the call is being recorded, it's difficult to make a judgement.

      So, once again, through their ubiquity meaning people get pulled into the Google way of doing things, Google has found a way to make businesses that opt out lose business.

      1. FeepingCreature

        What a surprise

        Businesses that reject business lose business?

        Darn that meanie Google!

    3. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Another idea

      Hey, here's an idea:

      If your motherfucking online reservation system ACTUALLY WORKED, we wouldn't need this lash-up.

      In the last 5 years, I've only used one restaurant reservation system that has worked. 90% of them fail in some technical way (e.g. a form getting a 404) and about 10% are where I show up and "what reservation? oh yeah sorry, our system doesn't actually work"

      So these places deserve to lose business.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Another idea

        Restaurants need to finally join the 19th century. For example, McDonald's food is horrible, and barely edible, but I go there because they've got an electronic ordering system where I don't need to stand in line for 10 minutes and then explain my order 4 times to the idiot at the register. "Yes, this is to-go. No, I don't want the meal, I just want the sandwich. No, I don't want the meal with any of that. No, I don't want fries. Yes, this is to-go. No, I don't want a drink. No, this is to-go. This. Is. To. Go. Not. Eat. In."

        I can punch in what I want, pay, and sit down. Bonus is that the idiot at the register might lose her job.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Another idea

          "Bonus is that the idiot at the register might lose her job."

          How else can you keep the streets clear?

      2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

        Re: Another idea

        I have had one online booking system make a booking at a restaurant (with e-mail confirmation and all), and when we turned up it turned out the business had closed down two months before. Happily, another restaurant right next door did have a table available (and I knew it to be excellent). Since then I prefer phoning myself, rather than using the booking system.

  2. steelpillow Silver badge

    Mendel Linux

    "Mendel Linux"? Where's the source code for that, then?

    1. RyokuMas

      Re: Mendel Linux

      Probably on a private Google repo somewhere...

      1. defiler

        Re: Mendel Linux

        Yeah - Google Hangouts, where nobody will find it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    “Thank-you for that booking Google Assistant. Does your client accept our booking terms and conditions?”

    What does Google say and who is liable?

    1. ratfox

      Re: Liability

      Booking terms and conditions? Is that a thing?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Liability

        > Booking terms and conditions? Is that a thing?

        If it means that your company isn't pestered by Google Assistant relentlessly calling then yes, it probably will become a thing. :-)

  4. Pete 2 Silver badge

    An _intelligent_ AI?

    > One of the top complaints about TensorFlow is that it’s clunky and not easy to grasp

    It sounds like the very first thing this AI framework needs is an AI to run it. Then all the problems with badly designed code, workflows and architecture could be made invisible to the user.

  5. Milton

    Duplex deposits

    More and more places require a deposit for bookings, because so many are made and then folks don't turn up. The habit of booking multiple 'options' and ditching them at short notice is parasitic and noxious, and this was always going to happen.

    So will restaurateurs trust Duplex? Especially if they know it's a Google product? How will it negotiate deposits? Will a deposit paid by duplex be honoured? Refunded? Disavowed? Many English speakers seem to have difficulty with foreign accented-English (even when spoken, as is sometimes the case, by people with a better vocabulary and grammar than their English interlocutors)—especxially Indian, for some reasons—so will Duplex do any better, when negotiating a slightly later booking with the Taj Mahal for Friday evening?

    And when we've got past those problems, how long before malware, spyware and all the other "dark fuckery of the human heart" kicks in? When the TM says they'll keep the three deposits committed to by Duplex because it's not their fault if your rogue/contaminated/abused system made bookings in your name? Or blocks you for nuisance bookings that you keep not turning up to? Or insists that you're not getting the seven o'clock table you thought you'd booked, because Rashinder and Duplex agreed to eleven o'clock instead? Or you get irritated calls from 17 different places asking what the hell is going on, because someone pranked your infected system and made a shedload of random bookings for you? Whenl your Significant Other queries a romantic dinner for two that she wasn't invited to, will you earnestly explain that Google must have gone rogue and made the booking for you? Duplex as alibi?

    The failure and chaos modes are numerous. No one thought email would be a harbinger of so much wasted time and chaos 30 years ago, but look where we got to. And email is actually useful, unlike a system designed for people too paralytically lazy to pick up a phone or visit a website. If normal use doesn't create major problems, you may be certain that once the vandals and Black Hats get involved, you're in for a wild ride. And that doesn't even address the idiocy of giving the laughably named Don't Be Evil with yet another invasion-of-privacy vector ...

    Nod to Stephen King

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: Duplex deposits

      I'd rather Google just produce an easy to use web-based booking system with a certain amount of intelligence built in. Well I'd rather Google didn't for the obvious reasons, but a confirmed antisocialist antisociallite someone who doesn't enjoy talking to complete strangers, I wish someone would.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Duplex deposits

        Sites like Just Eat and Deliveroo manage to get food to my house through large web based booking systems, so I can't see why it can't be extended to restaurants.

        Deliveroo already does take away services for some of the premium retaurants around my area, so to add table booking as well shouldn't be hard.

  6. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Tensoflow for mobiles

    So Google’s aim is to allow distributed machine learning while protecting privacy.

    Who trusts Google to understand what “privacy” actually is?

    1. defiler

      Re: Tensoflow for mobiles

      I looked at it and read that they want to farm out the processing to your phone and save themselves the electricity bill...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is brilliant!

    Can I set up Duplex to answer scam callers and string them along for hours in the background while still leaving my phone available to use for "normal" conversations?

    I guess the downside of that would be if the scammers are also using Duplex to make the call.

    Then it could be another case where the two AI's start making up their own language to where we wouldn't know if they were plotting against us.

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