Google AI Makes Appointments For You


Google Duplex, new AI presented at the Google I/O conference on May 8th, offers an assistant able to speak in a very credible human voice and make appointments by phone for a restaurant reservation or a hair appointment for example. The AI’s conversation is made convincing and natural with the integration of verbal tics such as “mmm” and “hum”.

This technology only works with professional phone numbers, whether it be restaurants, hair salons, travel agencies etc. A virtual number is used to make the call, and once the appointment has been made it is directly entered into Google Agenda. The system works independently without human involvement, however if the assistant encounters difficulties (i.e. the conversation becomes too complex) it informs a human operator who can complete the task.

To get to this level of technology took years of work, but Google is now able to artificially recreate non robotic human voices. They are currently developing six new voices in English, the only language used for the technology for the moment.

Google is also working on making communication with the assistant easier with “continued conversation” which will mean a more natural interaction with the technology without having to say “OK Google” all the time to keep the Assistant active. This feature should be launched in the next few weeks.

About the Author

Monica Hutchings is a Canadian writer and translator from Toronto who has worked on everything from technical descriptions to academic journals. She is our in-house copy editor.

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