Google Duplex – The Evolution of Artificial Intelligence

In May, Google had first introduced Google Duplex at the Google I/O 2018. It was indeed a huge step in the evolution of Artificial Intelligence.

The technology was appreciated by many, but few were very much against it for certain reasons.
Before we dwell further on that, let’s first find out what is Google Duplex.

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What is Google Duplex?

Usually with all the various technology, it is the user who tries to adjust to the system rather than the system adjusting to the user. This was mainly noticed because the computerized automated technology is unable to grasp the instructions of the user, if spoken like a normal human conversation.

Thus, in order to solve this problem, Google mentioned in a blog post about Google Duplex which allows the user to have a normal human-like conversation with the system. Basically Google Duplex is an extension of Google Assistance.

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Currently the application of Google Duplex is limited to just few restaurants and salons. The number of restaurants and salons will slowly increase. Soon it would reach hair salons as well. Google is taking slow steps because they want to make this a good experience to the users.

It has a new update which mentions that the call is being recorded –
Hi, I’m calling to make a reservation. I’m Google’s automated booking service, so I’ll record the call. Uh, can I book a table for Sunday the first?

Uses of Google Duplex?

The Google Duple is not going to be like sci-fi film such as I, Robot, but rather it can be used for making calls on your behalf, schedule appointments in a salon, booking a table in a restaurant, check the duration of time of a particular business operation, etc.

Click in the link below to listen to a simple conversation wherein Google Duplex schedules a Hair Appointment – “Google Duplex Scheduling a Hair Appointment” — GOOGLE DUPLEX.

Google Duplex demo

A Google spokesperson mentioned that Google’s current uses are a test and that it wouldn’t reach enterprises. He said the following –

“We’re currently focused on consumer use cases for the Duplex technology and we aren’t testing Duplex with any enterprise clients. As we shared last week, Duplex is designed to operate in very specific use cases, and currently we’re focused on testing with restaurant reservations, hair salon booking, and holiday hours with a limited set of trusted testers. It’s important that we get the experience right and we’re taking a slow and measured approach as we incorporate learnings and feedback from our tests.”

Another interesting fact to notice is that, according to The Information, this technology can replace the employees who work in the call centers. Also, during tax season, you wouldn’t have to wait an hour on hold for a representative, you could just ask the A.I. system all your tax-related questions.

Hence, there wouldn’t be any annoying messages like “Press 1”, etc. which could test the patience of any human.

What are the various views of the users?

Once you listen to the above example, you would notice that the voice is very much like a human being. Google Duplex uses  Speech Disfluencies which is basically the words/tunes like “umms” or “ahhs”. This way the users can feel more friendly while conversing to the system.

This was intriguing for few whereas it also raised various questions. One important question was – “How could Google introduce Duplex in a way that would be ethical?” Basically few considered it as fake voice. Also, the fact that Google is trying to replicate human voice somehow seems unethical to many.

Another drawback that people are facing is the unemployment which could happen if Duplex takes over Call centers.  According to a 2015 survey conducted by The Conversation, 90% of people preferred talking to a human customer support and just about 10% were satisfied with the system response.

Earlier Amazon’s Alexa had also tried this trick and the various companies like IBM, Microsoft, and Cisco. They had taken a leap of faith in the technology according to The Information.

Thus, one could only wait for further updates to find out if Google Duplex is a win or not. But you never know, they could end up creating something amazing like our very own I, Robot with this technology.


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Navaneetha Suresh

Navaneetha Suresh

Navaneetha, commonly known as "nav", loves to read, play badminton, play the keyboard and sing but when she's not doing any of those, she loves to write. What started as a high school hobby to write is now her ongoing passion.

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