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Google Duplex: The Future of AI Communication

Mandee Thomas
Oct 8, 2018 8:05:00 AM

Today, you can tell Alexa to add eggs to your shopping list before you head out the door, ask Siri to play Toto’s Africa when you get in the car, or talk to Apple’s virtual service representative when scheduling a Genius Bar appointment for later this afternoon. And even though interacting with virtual assistants and automated customer service systems is a relatively common occurrence in today’s world, communicating with these artificial devices can often feel uncomfortable and stilted.

During Google I/O 2018, Google featured a demo of “Google Duplex,” a new and exciting piece of AI software that has the potential to change the game for how humans interact with the technology around us.

What is Google Duplex?

Google Duplex is an AI program within Google Assistant designed to contact restaurants and other businesses in order to book reservations and find out hours of operation. The difference between Google’s system and the automated systems we’re use to is conversational flow and the use of natural language. Instead of humans having to adjust to the software, Google Duplex adjusts to the user.

The idea that AI could sound conversational, authentic, and even understand nuance is pretty hard to imagine. Take a look at the demo and see for yourself.

Google Duplex: Tech to Help You

As mentioned in the video, 60% of small business rely on customers calling in to book appointments. If you can simply ask the Google Assistant to place those calls for you and make an appointment, then the time and hassle are out of sight and out of mind.

Unfortunately, Google Duplex is still very much in the testing phase and probably won’t be available to the broader public for some time. But, even with it being in the trial stage, Duplex is said to have success in about 80% of the calls it currently makes. If it ever encounters a situation it can’t handle, the system does have a human fallback. There are operators available to take the calls that Duplex can’t complete. These operators also annotate the call transcripts for Google’s AI algorithms to learn from.

Business Application for Duplex

As soon as Duplex was announced, people everywhere wanted to find a way to integrate it into their business structure. Google has come out and clarified that they are “currently focused on consumer use cases,” but that doesn’t mean that the business application of this AI isn’t on the horizon. Things like machine learning through artificial intelligence are no longer just narratives in science fiction movies. Even the PERS industry is moving to alternative technologies to improve wellness monitoring for their clients.

So, while this technology is currently designed to help customers communicate with businesses, it’s not hard to imagine this kind of AI as part of a business solution. If an application similar to Google Duplex were in place for central station monitoring, the need for operators would decrease dramatically. Not only that, but with AI available to reach out to multiple subscribers simultaneously, once an alarm is triggered, there would be considerable potential for false alarm reduction as well.

Even if AI integration into the monitoring industry and other business capacities isn't in the immediate future, at least we can all look forward to no longer having to use our lunch break to schedule a doctor’s appointment.

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