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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 arms admins to monitor workers in G-Suite apps. Pixabay
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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)

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Google Expands Its Advanced Location Tracking System to the US

The location is computed on the device and delivered directly to emergency providers only when you explicitly call an emergency number.

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A Google logo is seen at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

Google is expanding its advanced location tracking feature for Android called “Emergency Location Service (ELS)” to the US.

Launched in 2016 and is currently available in 14 countries (excluding India), ELS provides accurate locations both indoors and outdoors by using a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi, mobile networks and sensors.

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The location tracking service is compatible with Android version 4.0 and above.

“Google is deploying ELS in the US, including the Virgin Islands, in partnership with emergency technology company RapidSOS and wireless service providers T-Mobile and West,” Jen Chai, Product Manager, Android, Google wrote in a blog-post late on Wednesday.

“Wireless providers like T-Mobile have existing ways to share emergency locations with emergency centers, but this integration with ELS will help deliver higher accuracy locations faster than before,” Chai wrote.

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Launched in 2016 and is currently available in 14 countries (excluding India) Wikimedia Coomons

Since the launch of ELS around the world, the most observed impact of the feature has been in critical, emergency situations by shortening emergency response times.

Also Read: Video- USA Gears Up For Its Midterm Elections

“You don’t need to install a separate app, update your OS, or have special hardware to benefit from more accurate location. The location is computed on the device and delivered directly to emergency providers only when you explicitly call an emergency number,” Chai added.

The location tracking service is compatible with Android version 4.0 and above. (IANS)