Google Duplex: New AI voice assistant

At Google’s I/O developer conference this month there was a story that seems to have captured people’s imagination or perhaps fueled their nightmares regarding Google’s new AI technology called Duplex, the AI that enables Google Assistant to make phone calls for you.

The Google Duplex system is capable of carrying out sophisticated conversations and it completes the majority of its tasks fully autonomously, without human involvement.

In the short video demo, Google Assistant goes back and forth in conversation with a person for about a minute to make a haircut reservation. In another demonstration, Google Assistant made a reservation at a restaurant.

There are several challenges in conducting natural conversations: natural language is hard to understand, natural behavior is tricky to model, latency expectations require fast processing, and generating natural sounding speech.

This summer, Google will start testing the Duplex technology within the Google Assistant, to help users make restaurant reservations, schedule hair salon appointments, and get holiday hours over the phone.