google duplex

Google introduced the newest AI feature in their virtual assistant, Google Assistant, called Google Duplex.

So, what is Google Duplex?

It allows Google Assistant to communicate in a human-like way with a person over the phone to complete basic real-world tasks.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai demonstrated the new AI system at Google I/O 2018. He presented two demos to the audience, one where a female voice called a hair salon to schedule a hair appointment; and the second where a male voice booked a reservation in a restaurant.

What amazed the audience is unlike the speech patterns of voice assistants, such as Siri, that are robotic, smooth, and continuously flowing, the AI seems so much like a human, saying “Um,” “Mhm,” “Oh,” and “I gotcha;” and taking a pause much like a person would.

Of course, with the buzz that it garnered, there are some people voiced out their concerns. For example, Bridget Carey, a Cnet tech journalist tweeted:

A member of Twitter’s product team, Sriram Krishnan also shared Carey’s sentiment:

Google engineers Yanjy Leviathan and Yossi Matias explained: “It’s important to us that users and businesses have a good experience with this service, and transparency is a key part of that. We want to be clear about the intent of the call so businesses understand the context. We’ll be experimenting with the right approach over the coming months.”

But you don’t have to decide yet if this is good or bad. Here are some pros and cons of Google Duplex:


Makes life easier

You won’t have to deal with the menial task of booking a restaurant reservation or hair appointment.

Just activate Google Assistant and it’ll do it for you!

This way, you can focus more on important tasks that need your attention more.

Help accessibility and language barriers

Since the virtual assistant is voice-activated, people with disability like impaired hearing, and immigrants or tourists having trouble speaking the local language, can use their phones to talk to someone on the phone to book a reservation.

Benefits traditional businesses

Businesses that haven’t had a digital transformation and have no online booking system can still be accessed by Google Assistant through a call.

It could also make local online data more accurate. For example, stores have different operation hour during holidays, and with Duplex, you can call a local store and ask its business hours for Christmas.


No control over the call

Google Duplex is still under testing but from what has been shown in I/O, you can’t interfere with a call.

You have no way of knowing if the call is going off the rails. You only get to listen to what happened to the call after it’s been done.

The “What if” of Duplex advancement

John Havens, Executive Director of IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems see a potential for Duplex to expand its limits.

“Pretty soon it’s not going to be hard for someone to type in the words to have a virtual assistant break up with their boyfriend,” he said. “Or, ‘call my elderly mom this weekend.’ I’m being a little hyperbolic, but we’re actually here.”

Easier to abuse small businesses?

Natt Garun of The Verge it’s just as easy to ask the AI to constantly reschedule or miss your appointment since you don’t feel an urgency to actually make your appointment because there’s no connection.

Seeing the pros and cons, what are your thoughts about it? Share it in the comments below!

But if you’re looking to make your business life easier, just like Google Duplex, we can ease the work burden on you! We provide outstanding digital services that can help you boost your business online! We’ll create a customized website and implement digital marketing strategies unique to your business. Contact us at now!

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Remalyn Estuesta

Author Remalyn Estuesta

Remalyn Estuesta writes content for blogs and social media of Innov8tive Design and Development's clients. When she's not working, she's either reading YA novels, writing short proses, or playing video games.

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