Google's controversial human sounding AI is being tested for call centres

Google's controversial human sounding AI is being tested for call centres

Google's controversial human sounding AI is being tested for call centres

Testing, they note, is still in the early stages, and the system is several months from going live.

Of course, this does not rule out a wider availability for Duplex in the future, especially as Amazon now offers Alexa for Business, while Google in the past has made other technologies available to Cloud customers.

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Google, though, has since issued a denial that it's working on any "enterprise" use cases for Google Duplex, and for the time being is concentrating on a limited number of consumer uses - booking appointments at hair salons and restaurants, for example. "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", the spokesperson said. An anonymous source that claims to be close with Google's plans says that the company is already in talks with at least one firm that would like to use Duplex for "simple, straightforward customer service calls". Google says the main objective of Duplex is to use AI to call businesses on your behalf.

However, the same powerful technology has a flip side for some, as it now appears capable to take away the jobs of telemarketing professionals and call-center operators. According to numbers from market analysts at Research And Markets, the cloud-based customer service market reached $6.8 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $21 billion by 2020. Earlier this year, Google Cloud Speech-to-Text received a major overhaul focused on optimizing phone call transcription uses. Most companies already outsource the work to countries where they can pay paltry wages in order to keep the expenses related to customer service down, and AI would likely cut those costs even more.

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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. According to The Information, "ethical concerns" overshadowed Google's demonstration of the Duplex technology, and the company interested in the assistant has pumped the brakes on the proposed project.

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