When Google CEO Sundar Pichai introduced Duplex to the world at their annual I/O conference in May earlier this year, many were left speechless. That would be perfectly all right in this case because Google Duplex is an AI-based assistant which is designed to make phone calls on your behalf to schedule appointments, make reservations in restaurants or purchase holiday tickets.
But how far can this dystopian voice-based intelligent assistant go? Media reports have now started speculating that Google is planning to use the very human-sounding Duplex in call centres. An anonymous source has told a news portal that the search engine giant is in conversation with a potential customer who would like to integrate Duplex into their operations. The firm in question is a “large” one, and will reportedly be using Duplex’s voice assistant to handle simple, straightforward customer service calls.
The company in question here is reportedly a large insurance company and is looking at ways it can use Duplex to handle mundane, repetitive phone calls. But the source who spoke to the news website has claimed:
“…But the ethical concerns that overshadowed the original presentation have slowed work on the project.”
After receiving backlash from people after the I/O announcement in May, Google had addressed the concerns regarding ethics and privacy, saying that the company is designing Duplex with disclosure built into the system. Google had said:
“We understand and value the discussion around Google Duplex — as we’ve said from the beginning, transparency in the technology is important… While we’re not widely launching this feature yet, we’re sharing more information about this technology to provide transparency and encourage feedback. It’s important that we get the experience right both for people and for businesses, and we’re taking a slow and measured approach as we incorporate learnings and feedback from our tests.”