Published: Sat, July 07, 2018
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Google’s Duplex AI could kill the call center

Google’s Duplex AI could kill the call center

Regardless of what side of the fence you are on regarding the credibility of its Duplex voice technology, so far it has only been shown in applications that enhance the company's AI assistant. Alphabet Inc.'s Google (GOOGL) product called Google Duplex, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered assistant capable of speaking like a human, is appearing awesome to some and scary to others.

According to the report, some big global companies are already in the early stages of testing the Google Duplex AI technology for use in their own applications like call centers to answer consumers' questions. Of course, if Duplex also ends up answering calls on behalf of its users, then the AI system may end up only talking to itself.

Google denies testing Duplex with any specific enterprise companies. 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. However, it's unlikely that AI research will cease after mastering simple conversations, meaning call centers could one day be largely automated using this technology. An anonymous source that claims to be close with Google's plans says that the company is already in talks with at least one firm that would like to use Duplex for "simple, straightforward customer service calls".

"It's important that we get the experience right, and we're taking a slow and measured approach as we incorporate learnings and feedback from our tests".

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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.

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. This move seems quite similar to what Amazon is doing by selling the technology behind Alexa to call centers.

Google adopted the bot's introduction so it clearly explains it's not a human, but now it turns out that some big companies are in the very early stages of testing Google's technology for use in other applications, such as call centres.

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