Google is using humans in call centers to run Duplex, its AI-powered voice assistant for booking reservations at restaurants and other appointment-based businesses, The New York Times reported. This shows how Google is taking a cautious approach with Duplex, a service the company would like to eventually make broadly available for a range of different use cases. Google has tested Duplex with large companies for use in call centers, as we reported last July.
This is also another reminder that for all the hype around realistic-sounding AI, including Google’s demo of Duplex at its I/O developer conference last May, the technology struggles to discern context as humans can. Since Duplex is a customer-facing service, Google is smartly installing a safety net to ensure that users don’t get frustrated when it doesn’t work.