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Google Is Reportedly Looking to Take Over Call Centers With Its Duplex AI Assistant

In the demo, the Google Assistant sounded like a human

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Google's new Search feature gives single result to certain queries. Pixabay

Google’s voice-calling “Duplex” — which lets Artificial Intelligence (AI) mimic a human voice to make appointments and book tables through phone calls — may soon enter call centres assisting humans with customer queries.

According to a report in The Information late on Thursday, an unnamed insurance company has shown interest in “Duplex” which could “handle simple and repetitive customer calls” before taking help from a human if the conversation gets complicated.

Google, however, said in a statement that the company is not testing “Duplex” with any enterprise clients.

“We’re currently focused on consumer use cases for the ‘Duplex’ technology and we aren’t testing ‘Duplex’ with any enterprise clients,” a Google spokesperson told Engadget in a statement.

“‘Duplex’ is designed to operate in very specific use cases, and currently we’re focused on testing with restaurant reservations, hair salon booking and holiday hours with a limited set of trusted testers,” the company added.

At its annual developer conference in May, Google CEO Sundar Pichai introduced “Duplex” and demonstrated how the AI system could book an appointment at a salon and a table at a restaurant.

Representational image.
Google on a smartphone device, Pixabay

In the demo, the Google Assistant sounded like a human.

It used Google DeepMind’s new “WaveNet” audio-generation technique and other advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP) to replicate human speech patterns.

However, tech critics raised questions on the morality of the technology, saying it was developed without proper oversight or regulation.

Microsoft has showcased a similar technology it has been testing in China.

Also Read: Google: Just Vetting Third Party Apps, Not Reading Your Gmail

At an AI event in London in May, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella revealed that the company’s “Xiaoice” social chat bot has 500 million “friends” and more than 16 channels for Chinese users to interact with it through WeChat and other popular messaging services.

“Xiaoice” interacts in text conversations but now the company has started allowing the chat bot to call people on their phones. (IANS)

Next Story

Google Now Lets Users Order Food via Search, Maps, Assistant

Users can ask Google Assistant to repeat a previous order as well

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FILE - A woman walks past the logo for Google at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Nov. 5, 2018. VOA

Saving people the trouble of having to download an additional app, Google is now letting users order food directly via Search, Maps, or Assistant using its partnerships with delivery companies.

Google has added a new “Order Online” button on Search and Maps which would appear when users would search for a supported restaurant, The Verge reported on Thursday.

Users can pick between pickup and delivery and select which service they want to order their food through.

If the restaurant supports it, the ordering selections would be made entirely through Google’s interface and Google Pay.

App, swiggy, Uber eats
Delivery man Ujjwal Singhal working with the food delivery app Swiggy carries an order to a customer in New Delhi, India, Feb. 6, 2019. (Representational image). VOA

Users can ask Google Assistant to repeat a previous order as well.

However, it remains unclear whether or not the feature would work on Google Assistant-enabled smart speakers or smart displays.

Also Read- Snapchat Employees Abused Users’ Private Data: Report

The new functionality supports five different delivery services at launch – DoorDash, Postmates, Delivery.com, Slice, and ChowNow – and Google plans to add support for Zuppler and others in the future, the report added.

Recently, the search-engine giant revamped the Search interface for mobile with a new design that would help mobile users better understand which information is coming from where and what are they looking for. (IANS)