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Google Assistant is frightening (here's proof)

Commentary: Google releases an ad for its ever-helpful digital assistant. Then someone overlays the visuals with audio from a "Blade Runner 2049" trailer.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Google Home -- packed with Google Assistant -- such an innocent little device.

Google/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

There are two kinds of people.

Those who believe the machines are our friends. And everyone else.

So when a new ad appeared Wednesday for Google Assistant, the voice-activated digital helper, I decided to choose a camp. I just want to belong.

The ad shows just how friendly, helpful and downright fun this software and its devices can be. It instantly activates your media choices on your command.

It's great with kids, even when your little one gets fed up and smacks Google Home, a smart speaker that uses Google Assistant. The software will go so far as to tell you where you've parked your car.

Honestly, have you ever had a lover who's been so darned practical? And obedient? Google Assistant will turn on lights for you because walking over to a light switch and actually switching it on yourself is so very 1982.

Oddly enough, that's the year the dystopian sci-fi flick "Blade Runner" came out.

Even more oddly, Spencer Chen, Alibaba's vice president of marketing and business development, thought to overlay the new Google ad with the audio from the trailer for the upcoming "Blade Runner 2049."

He posted the result to Twitter with these words: "I'm scared. Literally no extra editing involved."

The audio offers a certain portent and suddenly you see that the world we're creating isn't necessarily one of utilitarian reassurance.

There's menace. There's a false peace lurking in the air.

You can instantly believe that humans are merely pieces on a chessboard, there to be sacrificed in favor of a higher power.

"Every civilization was built on the back of a disposable workforce," the voice of the trailer intones.

Can we call artificial intelligence a new civilization? Yes, we can.

And when you hear "there is an order to things," it's hard not to feel a little shiver in your extremities and a couple of your inner organs.

Thousands of others are likewise disquieted. Chen's work of art has already racked up 3,500 retweets and 4,500 likes.

Who can save us? We're certainly not doing a good job of saving ourselves.

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