It came off as a total game changer when Google gave a fascinating demonstration, showing us a tiny glimpse of the future at its I/O conference a week ago. It was a phone call. A simple conversation on the phone between two people, one of which was booking an appointment for a haircut. But there was nothing ordinary about this phone call. A few days back; Google has launched its lens which can identify pet breeds and now this?

Google’s Human-Robot Caller

The caller was not an actual human being. The call was made by the Google Assistant, which did an outrageously good job of asking all the questions any normal person would. That in the right places too. The pauses and even figure of speeches like ‘mhmm’ were on point.

The spectators were awestruck and perhaps one of the most interesting parts of the demonstration was the person at the other line of the call. She was clueless about the fact that he was not talking to an actual person, but instead to an Artificial Intelligence (AI). Hence the realism factor was huge.

Google, however, has not given out many details that would answer these. Google has named it Duplex and called it an experiment so far. It’s not a finished product. It’s at its initial stages of testing. Applicable uses are still under considerations and the company does not guarantee whether it’ll be available in any form at all to the public.

Furthermore, Google’s researchers explained that it can only hold a conversation within “closed domains”. It means that the entire exchange is functional but within strict limits. It responds to questions it’s programmed to answer. And of course any out of context questions will make the AI repeat itself or steer the conversation back on track.

Duplex works in only three scenarios so far. Making a reservation at restaurants, scheduling haircuts and asking businesses about their holiday hours. There’s a possibility of it being available to certain unknown users later this year.

This begs the questions of how does Google plan to use this? Or how it is going to affect the future technology Google aims to launch? It further implores questions of ethical and social nature as well. But so far this is as exciting as it gets and we’d love to see how this new piece of AI works out.

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