Soon, if you want to make an appointment for a haircut, or reserve a table at a restaurant, you may be able to outsource those tedious phone calls to Google Assistant. The best thing about it? Maybe nobody will know.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai showed off the newly-acquired skills of the Google Assistant at the firm’s annual IO developers conferences (video above). To demonstrate the calling powers of Google Assistant, Pichai played back two pre-recorded demonstrations to the audience. The phone calls were stunning or mind-bending, to say the least.
Google Assistant sounds nothing short of human in the phone calls, even making “human” sounds like “mm-hmm” and “um” between words and sentences. Not only did it sound human, but it also dealt with complex conversations deftly and cleverly.
The artificial intelligence software that runs Assistant, called Google Duplex, is still under development, but according to Pichai, “It brings together natural language understanding, deep learning and text-to-speech”. Google Duplex will apparently be launched as an experiment over the coming weeks.
However, according to The Verge, Google says it wants to be transparent about Duplex’s usage, since a voice that sounds so realistic and human is certain to raise some questions. Currently, Duplex is able to successfully complete most of its conversations and tasks without external intervention. But in cases where it gets overwhelmed, it hands off to a human operator.