Google's Duplex AI could soon be running call centres

The robots on the other side of the customer support line could soon start to sound a lot more human.

But according to The Information, companies also want to see that arrangement flipped on its head, as they consider handing partial control of their call centers over to Duplex.

Duplex could be used to handle "simple and repetitive customer calls while humans step in when the conversations get more complicated", according to the report.

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. Suddenly the world was anxious that people in the future would not know whether they were talking to humans or machines.

Little is known about how Duplex actually works.

A Google spokesperson told The Information that the company isnt actively testing the technology with businesses but the “business could be exploring ways to use the technology on their own”.

Google didn't immediately return a request for comment.

"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". 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. On a similar note, we wonder if Google Duplex would be able to understand when a customer is calling with a bad attitude and respond with an appropriate amount of sass. The company is conducting early-stage testing, though it remains unclear how long will it take for the project to go live.

"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". The interested company remains unnamed, but it is reported to be a large insurance company.

The idea is that it might be able to replace some of the work now done by humans. According to numbers from market analysts at Research And Markets, the cloud-based customer service market reached $6.8 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $21 billion by 2020.

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