Google Duplex AI Ready to Replace Call Centers

Google emphasized that it is "taking a slow and measured approach" with Duplex - likely due to the initial backlash - and reiterated the three limited domains that the company has so far announced.

If successful, Google Duplex could disrupt the call-center business and potentially put many call center workers out of their jobs.

Google Duplex is a technology that's created to work for people, not take their jobs - at least, according to Google. This move seems quite similar to what Amazon is doing by selling the technology behind Alexa to call centers.

A new report from The Information claims that some large companies are in the very early stages of testing Googles natural language voice assistant, Duplex, to be used in corporate applications such as in call centers to answer customer service questions. They further stated that the technology is focused on very specific use cases, and is now being tested with restaurant reservations, hair salon booking, and holiday hours with a limited set of trusted testers.

One of the features of Duplex that attracted so much attention is the way the voice not only sounds so naturally human - it also includes the intermittent pauses, the "ums" and "ahs" that show up in normal conversation.

Of course, as the market expands, so will the competition, and Google isn't the only major tech firm that sees opportunity in entering call centres. But Google - with all of its cloud offerings - is hedging on the advantage provided by its AI smarts. Specifically, the report mentions an insurance company thinking about using Duplex to handle routine calls, and passing things off to a live operator in more complex situations. Just last week, Google better detailed Duplex's disclosure mechanism and the calling experience that businesses will hear. The primary critique is that even in a call center setting customers would be unaware they are talking to a machine and feel subsequently deceived. The interested company remains unnamed, but it is reported to be a large insurance company. Backlash eventually made Google promise that Duplex will tell people they are speaking with AI, but the company still has a way to go to ease everyone's worries.

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