Google begins publicly testing Duplex in the real world
So you'll never have to make a phone call again
Posted on June 27, 2018 10:17 PM.
In May, Google showed off a stunning demo of a human-sounding AI that could make reservations and appointments over the phone, entirely on the user's behalf. Now, they're testing it publicly in the real world
CNETRichard Nieva
Google says its plan is to start its public trial with a small group of "trusted testers" and businesses that have opted into receiving calls from Duplex.
For now, it will only call business to confirm hours, taking advantage of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. Adding support for calls to make reservations will start later this summer, followed by support for things like hair appointments.
CNETRichard Nieva
On Tuesday, Google invited press to Oren's Hummus Shop in Mountain View, California, a small Israeli restaurant two-and-a-half miles away from its corporate campus, to see the first live demos of the project and try it out for ourselves.
This comes after quite a bit of speculation that the demos at Google's I/O conference were not real calls, or that they were majorly edited. Now, Google says they were edited to remove personal information, and that they were all real calls. It also brought into question the ethics of AI that impersonated humans, and the legality of such technology, which Google addressed during their new demo.
CNETRichard Nieva
Businesses that dont want to receive calls from Google Assistant can opt out during the conversation or by indicating a lack of interest through a businesses online account. Google is implementing protections against spam and abuse during test runs, a spokesperson said, but no specifics were shared.
Ars TechnicaRon Amadeo
Duplex is fine giving out information, but it's designed to only to give out information the bot is authorized to share. At one point, the callers' email was asked for and Duplex responded with "I'm afraid I don't have permission to share my client's email."
Rather than building an all-encompassing AI that can do anything, Google hopes to utilize Duplex to make small and specific tasks very easy.
WIREDLauren Goode
According to Googles own internal research, 60 percent of small businesses that take reservations dont have an online booking system. Huffman says telling people to pick up the phone and call some place is a barrier, in an age when so many tasks like booking appointments and placing orders can be done online. Google thinks it can fix this resistance to making phone calls and help those businesses that still do things the old fashioned way.
Be right back, we're getting a call

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