Google is hiring writers from the farcical newspaper the Onion and the computer animation film studio Pixar to humanize its Assistant AI voice service, a Wall Street Journal report said. Google’s new Pixel phone, which will hit stores Oct. 21, will be the first device to feature its Assistant voice service.
After Amazon launched its AI voice service, Alexa, it found that people spoke to it as if it were a person. AI in its current form isn’t really artificial intelligence since the device doesn’t understand the conversation. The device interacts with its users with the help of scripted responses.
Google is hiring writers from the Onion and Pixar to “infuse personality” to its voice service, Gummi Hafsteinsson, product-management director of Google Home, told WSJ Sunday. He added that Google hoped to build an emotional connection with the customer.
Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa already come with a repertoire of jokes. By hiring comedy writers for its Assistant, Google is looking to set itself apart with better material. According to Google’s blog, Assistant “allows you to have a natural conversation between you and Google. It’s one Assistant that’s ready to help you throughout your day.”
Google Home, powered by the Google Assistant, is the company’s response to Amazon’s Echo and will be launched in November this year. This is Google’s first smart speaker.