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Google to Place AI-Powered Virtual Agents in Call Centres

The result is a flexible solution that adapts to the needs of each and every call, and provides a seamless experience between live and virtual agents, playing as big or as small a role as the situation demands

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Google to retire smart messaging app Allo after March 2019. Pixabay
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Google has announced it is working with several partners like Cisco and Genesys to build Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that will replace some of the work in call centres.

The software is called “Contact Center AI” which will install “virtual agents” that will be the first to pick up the phone when a customer connect to a call centre.

“When the customer asks something that the AI cannot do, it will automatically forward the call to a human,” said Fei-Fei Li, Chief Scientist at Google, during the Cloud Next conference here late on Tuesday.

“Our true goal is to empower a contact centre’s human agents, as well as the customers that rely on them.

“To do this, we built a complete solution with our partners that includes Dialogflow Enterprise Edition, as well as additional capabilities that are particularly useful for contact centres,” Li added.

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The software is called “Contact Center AI” which will install “virtual agents” that will be the first to pick up the phone when a customer connect to a call centre. Pixabay

In this AI technology, when a call is placed, the caller is immediately greeted by a Virtual Agent that answers questions and fulfils tasks all on its own.

When a caller’s needs surpass the Virtual Agent, it transitions to a human representative.

“From there, the system shifts to a supporting role whereby Contact Centre AI’s Agent Assist system supports the conversation and provides the agent with relevant information,” Google said.

Also Read: You Can Now Ask Google Assistant to Make a Duo Video Call

The result is a flexible solution that adapts to the needs of each and every call, and provides a seamless experience between live and virtual agents, playing as big or as small a role as the situation demands.

“It’s compliant with our data privacy and governance policies, and it does it all without infrastructure, on a platform that scales as much or as little as you need,” Li noted.

“AI is empowerment, and we want to democratise that power for everyone and every business — from retail to agriculture, education to health care,” she added. (IANS)

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Google Is Run Without Any Political Bias: Sundar Pichai

Google shut down its search engine in China in 2010 after China insisted on censoring search results.

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Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies at a House Judiciary Committee hearing "examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices" on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

Google CEO Sundar Pichai insisted Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee that he runs the U.S. technology giant without political preference.

“We find that we have a wide variety of sources, including sources from the left and sources from the right. And we are committed to making sure there are diverse perspectives,” Pichai told the panel.

Pichai defended the company after accusations from Republican lawmakers that Google has developed online search algorithms to suppress conservative voices.

“There are numerous allegations in the news that Google employees have thought about doing this, talked about doing this and have done it,” Republican committee chairman Robert Goodlatte said.

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A demonstrator holds up a sign in the doorway as Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies at a House Judiciary Committee on greater transparency in Washington. VOA

Republican Congressman Lamar Smith cited a study by P.J. Media that concluded 96 percent of Google’s search results for President Donald Trump were from “liberal media outlets.”

“In fact, not a single right-leaning site appeared on the first page of search results. This doesn’t happen by accident but is baked into the algorithms. Those who write the algorithms get the results they must want and apparently management allows it.”

Smith also cited a study by “Harvard-trained psychologist” Robert Epstein that said Google’s alleged bias “likely swung” more than 2.5 million votes to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

“Google could well elect the next president with dire implications for our democracy,” Smith added.

Sundar Pichai, USA
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, arrives for the testimony of Google CEO Sundar Pichai about the internet giant’s privacy security and data collection, on Capitol Hill in Washington, VOA

“I lead this company without political bias and work to ensure that our products continue to operate that way,” Pichai said. “To do otherwise would go against our core principles and our business interests.”

Top committee Democrat Jerry Nadler said Republican accusations of bias is “a completely illegitimate issue, which is the fantasy dreamed up by some conservatives that Google and other online platforms have an anti-conservative bias. As I’ve said repeatedly, no credible evidence supports this right-wing conspiracy theory.”

President Donald Trump is among those who have accused the company of censoring conservative content, tweeting in August that Google is “RIGGED” and that “Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out.”

‘Dragonfly’ project

Pichai’s testimony came after he angered committee members in September by declining an invitation to testify about manipulation of online services by foreign governments to influence U.S. elections.

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A smartphone and computer screen display the Google home page. Australia is one step closer to forcing tech firms to give police access to encrypted data. VOA

The CEO was also questioned about the company’s planned “Dragonfly” project, a censored search engine for China and “next generation technology” that Congressman Smith said Google is “developing on Chinese soil.”

“This news raises a troubling possibility, that Google is being used to strengthen China’s system of surveillance, repression and control,” Smith said. “We need to know that Google is on the side of the free world, and that it will provide its services free of anti-competitive behavior, political bias and censorship.”

An international group of 60 human rights and media groups submitted a letter Tuesday to Pichai, calling on him to abandon the project, warning that personal data would not be safe from Chinese authorities.

Also Read: Australia Proposes To Strengthen Regulations of Facebook, Google

Reporters Without Borders, a signatory to the letter, said China ranked 176 out of 180 countries in its Freedom of the Press Index.

Google shut down its search engine in China in 2010 after China insisted on censoring search results. (VOA)