Google Duplex, the human-sounding AI that shocked the world when it was demonstrated at this year's I/O conference, works as advertised and will start public testing this summer.
The appointment-booking bot was met with mixed reactions, ranging from excitement over the development of AI technology to concern that it is overstepping boundaries. However, despite, the scrutiny, Google is proceeding with the testing and eventual release of Duplex.
Google Duplex Sounds Human In Demo
Google invited several tech journalists to the THEP Thai Restaurant in New York City. They were given the chance to receive calls made by Google Assistant using the Google Duplex AI to set reservations for the restaurant.
It sounded like a human on the other end of the line in the infamous Google I/O demonstration of Google Duplex, and the same holds true in the new demonstration in New York. The AI-powered service was able to mostly hold its own in conversations, even when thrown a wrench or two.
The demonstration also revealed that Duplex will call a human operator when Assistant does not understand what the person on the other end of the line is saying. Assistant will politely say that it will have to call its manager, and the human operator will take over the conversation.
On full display in the new Google Duplex demonstration were the speech disfluencies, especially the "ums" and "ahs," that make the AI sound like a real human. These also make conversations flow smoother and sound more polite.
Google Duplex Release Date
Google Duplex will start public testing in the summer, with a small group of "trusted testers" and businesses that have signed up to receive calls from the AI-powered service.
In the coming weeks, Google Duplex will be calling the businesses to confirm operating hours and holiday hours, including on the Fourth of July. Reservation bookings at restaurants and salons will be allowed later in the summer.
The demonstrations and the testing are meant to provide more exposure for Google Duplex, which stunned the world at Google's annual I/O conference. Google later revealed that Google Assistant will introduce itself as artificial intelligence, after concerns were raised regarding the ethics of AI in mimicking humans.
There is no official Google Duplex release date yet, as Google is still trying to figure out how companies will react to talking to artificial intelligence in phone calls. As such, Google is taking things a little slower for Duplex, compared to how it usually releases new products and services.