AI is the future and we are already using it now. The latest example is when Google Assistant calls to set up an appointment for you and sounds very human. The assistant adapted to conversation challenges and successfully completed the task. She even sends a confirmation to you that your appointment is set. This is the start of many new uses of AI in our lives.
About Google Duplex
Google showed off a jaw-dropping new capability of Google Assistant which we will get in the not too distant future. The assistant will be able to make phone calls on your behalf. CEO Sundar Pichai played back a phone call recording placed by the Assistant to a hair salon. The voice sounded very natural using phrases like Mm-Hmm. It was so good, the person on the other end had no idea they were talking to a digital helper. This project is called Google Duplex and they have been working on it for a while now. Duplex feels like we are moving into the next stage in AI usage. It is still under development, but Google plans to conduct early testing of Duplex inside Assistant this summer.
What Does it Do?
The technology is focused on completing specific tasks, such as scheduling appointments. The system makes the conversational experience as natural as possible, allowing people to speak normally like they would to another person. Google envisions other uses like having Assistant call businesses and inquire about their hours to help keep Maps listings up to date. The company says it wants to be transparent about where and when Duplex is being used, as a voice that sounds this realistic and convincing is certain to raise some questions.
Listen to how good the Assistant sounds in the video. There are two appointments and the second one to the restaurant had a slight language barrier. The Assistant performed quite well. It was very hard to tell it was an AI and not a human.
What If The Assistant Gets Confused?
The Google Duplex system is capable of carrying out sophisticated conversations and it completes the majority of its tasks fully autonomously, without human involvement. The system has a self-monitoring capability, which allows it to recognize the tasks it cannot complete on its own like scheduling an unusually complex appointment. When this happens, it signals to a human operator to complete the task.
Google Assistant is growing up
The Assistant learns new tasks by supervised training until it gets it right. Just like a teacher and a student. This is really cool stuff, but not quite ready for all of us yet. Keep an eye out this summer for chances to test this with Google Assistant. Check out Google’s blog for more details. I will be keeping an eye on this as I really want to try it out.