According to The Information (paywalled) plans are afoot to use Google Duplex, so far demonstrated as the customer, as the agent to completely robotise the call centre. Now comes a report from The Information, which says call centers are another focus beyond businesses using it to make simple appointments, reservations and the like. The Information reports that an unnamed insurance company was investigating ways to use Duplex in call centers to handle customer service, but Google denies this.
A report from The Information suggests Google may be making a play to find other applications for its human-sounding assistant and has already started experimenting with ways to use Duplex to do with away roles now filled by humans - a move that could have ramifications for millions of people.
We've already seen that Google Duplex does a fairly convincing job of being like a PA, and as such, there's no reason why for the simple stuff at least, it can be the agent too.
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.
"It's important that we get the experience right, and we're taking a slow and measured approach as we incorporate learnings and feedback from our tests".
If Google can find its way into the business of automated phone calls for companies, it could creep its way into a massive profit centre.
Cloud-based customer call centres are supposed to be the thing of the future and the market is expected to hit more than $20.9 billion by 2022, up from around $6.8 billion previous year, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets.
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If Google was looking to bring Duplex into call centres, it wouldn't be the first tech giant to consider rolling its AI into the telemarketing industry. Don't forget: Google Assistant was used to shoot a gun recently. The idea of calling a customer service rep and not knowing whether you're talking to a robot or a human is a bit unsettling.
Google adopted the bot's introduction so it clearly explains it's not a human, but now it turns out that some big companies are in the very early stages of testing Google's technology for use in other applications, such as call centres.
There is precedent for Google making Duplex available to third-parties.
That may also have the complete opposite effect on people.
One of the features of Duplex that attracted so much attention is the way the voice not only sounds so naturally human - it also includes the intermittent pauses, the "ums" and "ahs" that show up in normal conversation.
Googles Duplex demonstration was very likely one of the most buzzed about topics at this past Google I/O conference.