A couple months back, though, we got our first taste of what could be a sea change for the Assistant's ability to effortlessly carry on conversations, as Google demoed its new Duplex AI tech. We aren't testing Duplex with any enterprise clients. The technology is an expansion of its Google Assistant AI that is meant to sound much more human.
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. Google, however, has denied the report, saying that it is now working on the consumer side of things, and that it isn't testing the technology with any enterprise clients.
Duplex would handle simple calls for the insurance company, and if the customer started asking complex questions the bot can't handle a human would step in, according to the report.
A Google spokesperson told The Information that the company isnt actively testing the technology with businesses but the business could be exploring ways to use the technology on their own.
Google emphasized that it is "taking a slow and measured approach" with Duplex - likely due to the initial backlash - and reiterated the three limited domains that the company has so far announced.
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Google already has a customer, a large insurance company, looking at how it can use Duplex to improve call handling by giving the common but simple queries to Duplex, leaving the humans free to file their nails, giggle and hang up on you.
The primary use case mentioned in today's report is call centers, specifically the booming cloud-based market where Duplex's uncanny naturalness might serve as an advantage.
But according to The Information, companies also want to see that arrangement flipped on its head, as they consider handing partial control of their call centers over to Duplex.
There is precedent for Google making Duplex available to third-parties. Earlier this year, Google Cloud Speech-to-Text received a major overhaul focused on optimizing phone call transcription uses.
However the company has admitted that the ethical concerns that overshadowed the original presentation have slowed work on the project, this person said. Just last week, Google better detailed Duplex's disclosure mechanism and the calling experience that businesses will hear. The primary critique is that even in a call center setting customers would be unaware they are talking to a machine and feel subsequently deceived.