INTERNATIONAL - At Google's developer conference I/O 2018, Google showed off a new capability of Google Assistant, soon it will be able to make phone calls on your behalf.
CEO Sundar Pichai played back a phone call recording that he said was placed by the Assistant to a hair salon.
Pichai assured everyone at the conference that this was a real call using Assistant and not a staged demo and that the person on the other end had no idea they were talking to a digital AI helper.
“The amazing thing is that Assistant can actually understand the nuances of conversation,” he said.
“We’ve been working on this technology for many years. It’s called Google Duplex.”
Google’s chief executive said it’s still very much under development.
Google plans to conduct early testing of Duplex inside Assistant this summer “to help users make restaurant reservations, schedule hair salon appointments, and get holiday hours over the phone.”
Pichai says the Assistant can react intelligently even when a conversation “doesn’t go as expected” and veers off course a bit from the given objective.
“We’re still developing this technology, and we want to work hard to get this right,” he said. “We really want it to work in cases, say, if you’re a busy parent in the morning and your kid is sick and you want to call for a doctor’s appointment.”
Google has published a blog post with more details and soundbites of Duplex in action.
“The technology is directed towards completing specific tasks, such as scheduling certain types of appointments. For such tasks, the system makes the conversational experience as natural as possible, allowing people to speak normally, like they would to another person, without having to adapt to a machine", the company said in the blog post.
Google explains that so far, during testing Duplex has successfully completed most conversations and tasks on its own without any intervention.
However, there are cases where it gets overwhelmed and needs help from a human.
Below is a soundbite provided by Google on how Duplex talks to humans.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE