First Public Trial For Google’s Robot Caller

The first small-scale public trial would be conducted for the robotic calling service Google which is able to speak to humans to undertake activities like making a reservation or setting an appointment.

The company said that the system will make a few calls in the next few weeks to some businesses. Google did not provide further information about the firms that would receive the calls.

Duplex has turned out to become a very talked about demo this year after it was first exhibited at Google’s developers’ conference in May. The most startling fact of the demonstration was the very lifelike voice of the software despite it being a synthesized voice. The voice even added its own “uh-huh” and “mm” during the conversations.

According to the previous demo of Duplex by Google, there is still need for human intervention in such automated machine voice calls at the rate of one in every five such calls. Human intervention is still required in case the automated voice gets confused. At the rate of intervention of a human operator for calls, it would be a huge strain on the resources of Google, the company says.

The company therefore needs to better its AI for full scale commercial roll out of the project, say critics.

There are several reasons that the technology is also described as being deeply divisive often.

The first concern is the threat of humans being outsmarted by machines because of a highly roboticised world in the future.

Critics also question whether people would actually want to live in a world where one cannot even be bothered enough to make a two-minute phone call to book a haircut.

“If for some reason the business doesn’t want to receive those appointments they can bow out,” explained Scott Huffman, head of engineering for Google Assistant.

“Really what you see is that people in these situations… they want to get their appointment made, or whatever it is, and kind of get off the phone.”

However, Google provides a number of justifications of the existence of Duplex.

Accessibility reasons prevents some from making phone calls, says Google. The future of duplex also holds the possibility of one booking a table at a restaurant even if one does not know the local language with the help of Duplex.

This technology allows Google to yet another method to automate collection of useful data which is not captured by its existing methods.

A “small selection” of users would be allowed to make use of Duplex for simple tasks such as finding out whether a restaurant is open or not in the proposed public trial announced by google on Tuesday.

(Adapted from


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