Google has decided to let the general public test its virtual assistant, able to make phone calls and have a conversation with the same ease as a human. A new demonstration makes it possible to discover the astonishing fluidity of the system and how it removes any ambiguity on the nature of the interlocutor.
Last May at its annual conference, Google unveiled a new artificial intelligence called Duplex, capable of making phone calls on your behalf with an almost human voice to book a restaurant or make an appointment at the hairdresser. The technology had impressed, but it had also raised concerns and questions about the possible drifts of an AI posing as a human.
Google has therefore launched a communication campaign to explain how it works and the precautions are taken. In the coming weeks, some carefully selected testers and companies in the United States will be able to use Duplex. Initially, the software will only be able to make calls to confirm opening hours, especially for the national holiday of 4 July. During a second phase which will open during the summer, these testers will be able to ask the assistant to book restaurants or hair salons.
The AI can introduce itself to its interlocutor
This announcement is accompanied by a new demonstration of how Google Duplex works. Once again, we can see the fluidity and the natural tone of the synthetic voice which are much superior to what we know with Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. During the conversation, we see how the software manages the pause times between responses, plays on intonations and even punctuates its lines with onomatopoeias. Realism is disturbing.
To remove any ambiguity, Google has set up a straightforward device. At the beginning of each call, after greeting the caller, the AI introduces itself by indicating that it is the Google Duplex calling to book and that the automated call will be recorded. In case of difficulty, human operators may take over to end the conversation. Google has not yet set a precise when this new thrilling tool will be available.