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Google’s Duplex AI could kill the call center

07 July 2018

After the publication of the report, Google in a statement to 9to5Google said that the only focus of their Duplex technology is on consumer applications.

The AI system was first debuted at Google's I/O developer conference in May, where it was demonstrated making calls to local businesses to place reservations on behalf of Google Assistant users.

Google is reportedly shopping its Duplex AI system around as a tool for call centers, according to The Information, including a large insurance company.

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Google emphasized that it is "taking a slow and measured approach" with Duplex - likely due to the initial backlash - and reiterated the three limited domains that the company has so far announced. "We aren't testing Duplex with any enterprise clients", a Google spokesperson told Gizmodo. "We're now focused on consumer use cases for the Duplex technology where we can help people get things done, rather than applying it to potential enterprise use cases". Specifically, the report mentions an insurance company thinking about using Duplex to handle routine calls, and passing things off to a live operator in more complex situations.

If successful, Google Duplex could disrupt the call-center business and potentially put many call center workers out of their jobs.

Watch out call center employees, competition is on the way!

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Some big global companies are already in the early stages of testing the Google Duplex AI technology. A report from previous year, again from The Information, claims that Amazon is planning to import the same natural language processing that powers Alexa into call centres. Just last week, Google better detailed Duplex's disclosure mechanism and the calling experience that businesses will hear.

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. In fact, ethical concerns have apparently slowed down work on the product. After public outcryat the implication of people in the future not knowing whether they were talking to humans or machines, Google adapted the bot's introduction so it clearly explains it's not a human.

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Google’s Duplex AI could kill the call center