Duplex is an artificial intelligence system (AI) developed by Google in order to become your own personal assistant. The idea is to use it to download some of your phone calls to a type of robot that can do them for you.
One thing that makes Google Duplex so different from the normal automatic machines you hear when you call your insurance company or when you receive a spam call about a free cruise, is that you get involved in conversations much like you do a human.
The end result is an assistant who can answer phone calls that you do not have the time or interest to do.
How will you use Duplex
Although the Duplex is extremely complex, its use will be easy because it will work through devices that have the Google Assistant, such as your Android phone or the smart speaker with the Google Assistant.
All you have to do as a user is tell the assistant who to call and what you want from the call, and he will take care of the whole conversation for you. You can even continue using your phone or speaker as usual without any interruption.
How Google Duplex will be useful
There are several real benefits to using Duplex:
- Users save time by allowing their phone to make automatic calls
- Companies save money by avoiding having to designate resources to answer calls and book appointments
- Language barriers are a minor problem among callers
- The hearing impaired can make phone calls more easily.
The basic idea behind Duplex is to make phone calls more convenient, specifically calls that do not require a lot of substance. While you should make a call to your daughter who is out of school, or to her mother on Mother’s Day, you may be indifferent when it comes to other people.
For example, you really do not need to be the voice behind checking movie times at a movie theater, booking a table at a restaurant, scheduling a haircut, or reviewing store hours. All these tasks, and many others, only require the sending and receiving of basic information, which Duplex will probably handle well.
Another area in which Duplex will be useful (much more than a traditional artificial intelligence system) is how it interacts with the other person in the call. Because it sounds natural and actually responds intelligently, the human on the other end can speak naturally.
This will make it less likely that the person will hang up immediately because a) the recipient will appear human and b) will know that they can give and take real information and that they do not have to state it perfectly and only at specific times during the call to be able to bot has a sense of what is being said.
The applications for Duplex can be seen both commercially and personally. You may one day use your personal assistant to schedule appointments, while the companies you are calling use Duplex to schedule appointments; there is no interaction from human to human at all.
Another practical result of using Duplex as your personal assistant is that you can save time by avoiding calls that have long waiting periods. The AI assistant can do everything for you and then transmit any response when the call ends. Duplex can even involve you if necessary.
For example, in some situations, calling a company involves reaching a human only to be answered a series of questions, so that they can direct their call to the correct department. I could have Duplex complete those things for you: make the call, answer any previous questions, wait for a human to answer and talk to the person. If Duplex does not know what to do next, it can make you participate in the call, just as a real personal assistant would.
In fact, in the commercial aspect of things, Duplex can completely eliminate waiting times. There may be hundreds of incoming calls that are made at the same time in a typical company with dozens waiting, or calls after the time with no one available to answer. With Duplex involved, callers can get answers much faster, without the company needing additional employees just to answer the phones.
Examples of Google Duplex in Action
Google has not yet provided Duplex in any kind of usable form for the public, but they do have some audio clips that show how it works in the real world. There is a 56-second clip of Duplex scheduling a hair appointment and a 50-second phone call to a restaurant.
In those examples, Duplex is starting the call, so the respondent is a real person. You can see how natural the conversation flows and how Duplex tries to sound human, with “umm”, “uhh” and “I gotcha” sometimes.
Because it is common for a human to pause and stutter, and repeat and contradict what he says, some conversations are a little harder to understand for Duplex, as in this example of a complex conversation: “Then, from Tuesday to Thursday , we are open at 11 a.m. 2, and then reopen 4 to 9, and then Friday, Saturday, Sunday we … or Friday, Saturday we are open 11 to 9 and then on Sunday we are open 1 to 9 “.
In these examples of duplexes, it is sometimes difficult to recognize what is Google’s duplex and what is human. Both are responding and making changes based on the round-trip conversation, making Duplex look less like a static robot and more like a person.
Another component that gives life to these artificial intelligence conversations is how the voices in the tone change. In normal conversations, if someone has a monotonous tone, they can be assigned a robotic voice, so the fact that Duplex avoids it and uses the emphasis where it is normally used by humans, and combines it with the common fill, sounds as “umm,” makes the use of duplex as a useful personal assistant a real possibility.
The human behavior of Google Duplex is also a point of controversy. Without revealing that “the next call is being handled by Google Duplex” (what Google may or may not decide to do), is it cheating the person at the other end of the line?
The privacy issues, especially considering that these conversations will undoubtedly be recorded, is another aspect that Google’s legal teams are undoubtedly working on while testing this technology.