Google Duplex Conversational Voice AI Assistant Has Call Centers Seeing Dollar Signs

Yolanda Curtis
July 9, 2018

Google is reported to have at least one potential customer, a large insurance company, which wishes to use Google Duplex in its call-center operations.

According to The Information, Google has taken an interest in using Duplex to replace human workers at call centres. Testing, they note, is still in the early stages, and the system is several months from going live.

Google Duplex is a technology that's created to work for people, not take their jobs - at least, according to Google.

Google has issued a statement that says Duplex AI is completely focused on consumer uses right now and it has no enterprise deployment testing underway. While that tech demo focused on Duplex AI helping humans to make appointments, call centers want to flip the script.

With thousands of call centers moved out to the likes of India, but a pressure from many users to bring them back, the prize of a fully working Duplex layer before they speak to a human being, could placate the traditionalists and at the same time reduce the queues, another bugbear of the "you can't have it all ways" camp. Google may be on its way to use its human-sounding assistant for handling customer calls. Duplex is created to operate in very specific use cases, and now we're focused on testing with restaurant reservations, hair salon booking, and holiday hours with a limited set of trusted testers.

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.

Google, to be sure, has already retooled the way Duplex interacts on calls just a bit since showing it off at I/O.

This report comes during a time when the cloud-based customer call-center industry is increasingly growing one that raked in $6.8 billion past year with no signs of slowing down. The bots would handle the simple calls with humans ready to step in when needed. Don't forget: Google Assistant was used to shoot a gun recently.

However the company has admitted that the ethical concerns that overshadowed the original presentation have slowed work on the project, this person said.

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