Displaying items by tag: Duplex

US tech giants roll out controversial new app

Written on Tuesday, 04 December 2018 07:26

Google has plans to roll out a controversial new app in which AI will make phone calls on behalf of users to arrange appointments, book tables and order food. Duplex will run through Google Assistant, and is described as “a new technology for conducting natural conversations to carry out ‘real world’ tasks over the phone.”

At a conference in May, CEO Sundar Pichai played two recordings of Google Assistant running Duplex, arranging a hairdressing appointment and booking a table. The assistant understood the context and responded appropriately, even when the conversation didn’t go as expected.  

In both phone calls, the receiver did not suspect they were talking to a robot; the bot speaks with realistic sounding human inflections and pauses. The next-generation voice assistant has raised some ethical questions as to whether humans should be told they are speaking to a robot and be clear that the conversation is recorded.

“It’s important to us that users and businesses have a good experience with this service, and transparency is a key part of that,” Says Yaniv Leviathan, Principal Engineer at Google.

“We want to be clear about the intent of the call so businesses understand the context. We’ll be experimenting with the right approach over the coming months.” 

Currently, only Pixel owners in selected US cities can run the app, and are, for now, limited to making restaurant reservations.

“We hope that these technology advances will ultimately contribute to a meaningful improvement in people’s experience in day-to-day interactions with computers.”

Published in Apps