Google reportedly in talks to incorporate Duplex into call center industry

"Hello? Duplex? This is Duplex

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.

With Duplex, the Google Assistant will call restaurants and salons to make reservations on your behalf. 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.

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. This suggests that in addition to booking appointments via Assistant and calling businesses for holiday hours, Google sees Duplex as a Cloud service that other companies could pay to use. And that one large insurance company in particular is in the early stages of testing. Another key distinction is how Duplex has more advanced conversational capabilities compared to competitors.

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However, the same powerful technology has a flip side for some, as it now appears capable to take away the jobs of telemarketing professionals and call-center operators. But Google - with all of its cloud offerings - is hedging on the advantage provided by its AI smarts. If Google AI would make it easier on the caller, would this not be a good thing for everyone? To no one's surprise, it looks like at least one major company is discussing the use of Duplex for customer service calls.

Google in recent weeks invited tech journalists out to restaurants on both coasts to put Duplex through the paces in that setting.

Google Duplex may have a solution to that problem by making the automated interactions less robotic and more life-like. 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. The interested company remains unnamed, but it is reported to be a large insurance company.

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