Google says no, Duplex AI won't take over human call centers

"Hello this is a human speaking. No I swear

We've already seen that Google Duplex does a fairly convincing job of being like a PA, and as such, there's no reason why for the simple stuff at least, it can be the agent too.

Google denies testing Duplex with any specific enterprise companies. During a developer conference in May, CEO Sundar Pichai held a demonstration showing how Duplex could make a reservation at a salon or a hotel without the person on the other side supecting that they were communicating with an AI system.

If Google was looking to bring Duplex into call centres, it wouldn't be the first tech giant to consider rolling its AI into the telemarketing industry.

Google Duplex is a technology that's created to work for people, not take their jobs - at least, according to Google.

A report from The Information suggests Google may be making a play to find other applications for its human-sounding assistant and has already started experimenting with ways to use Duplex to do with away roles now filled by humans - a move that could have ramifications for millions of people. Duplex is created to operate in very specific use cases, and now we're focused on testing with restaurant reservations, hair salon booking, and holiday hours with a limited set of trusted testers.

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Google's promise that its current focus is on restaurant reservations may be a comfort to call-centre employees, but it's hard not to imagine the company taking an interest in the sector.

Of course, this does not rule out a wider availability for Duplex in the future, especially as Amazon now offers Alexa for Business, while Google in the past has made other technologies available to Cloud customers.

There is precedent for Google making Duplex available to third-parties. Last year, Amazon started selling a version of its wildly popular voice assistant Alexa designed specifically for use responding to questions via phone and text. This service offered by Google Cloud uses the core speech recognition technology used by Search and Assistant.

Google, to be sure, has already retooled the way Duplex interacts on calls just a bit since showing it off at I/O. The company is conducting early-stage testing, though it remains unclear how long will it take for the project to go live. The interested company remains unnamed, but it is reported to be a large insurance company.

Despite this, many are still uncomfortable with how natural Duplex sounds thanks to the use of pauses, "uh", and "umm" in a conversation. Suddenly the world was anxious that people in the future would not know whether they were talking to humans or machines.

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