Google Will Start Transcribing Audio Recordings Again - NBC4 Washington

Google Will Start Transcribing Audio Recordings Again

Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook have all used similar practices. The companies say it helps make their AI systems more accurate.

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    Google Will Start Transcribing Audio Recordings Again
    NurPhoto via Getty Images
    Google Home assistant Hub, exhibited during the Mobile World Congress, on February 27, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Joan Cros/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

    Google is restarting a practice in which human contractors listen to and transcribe some voice commands people give to the company's artificial intelligence system, Assistant. But this time Google is taking steps to make sure people know what they are agreeing to.

    The company suspended its transcription practices after more than 1,000 Dutch-language recordings were leaked to the media in Belgium this summer. Google required users to opt-in to the service before audio transcriptions were recorded, but critics have said people didn't fully understand they were agreeing to allow human transcribers to listen in because the company's language was unclear.

    Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook have all used similar practices. The companies say it helps make their AI systems more accurate.

    Now Google will require users to agree again to voice transcription and make it clear human transcribers might listen to recordings. People don't have to opt-in to the service, but certain Assistant features won't be available if they don't.

    The company also said it will delete most recordings after a few months, and people can review their recordings and delete them manually at any time.