Google Duplex could soon take over call centres

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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.

According to The Information, one "large insurance company" is already testing, but it's still in "early stages" and months from going live.

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 has issued a statement that says Duplex AI is completely focused on consumer uses right now and it has no enterprise deployment testing underway. Alphabet Inc.'s Google (GOOGL) product called Google Duplex, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered assistant capable of speaking like a human, is appearing awesome to some and scary to others.

When Google unveiled Duplex at its I/O conference in May, it caused quite a stir.

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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.

Cloud-based customer call centres are supposed to be the thing of the future and the market is expected to hit more than $20.9 billion by 2022, up from around $6.8 billion past year, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets. This service offered by Google Cloud uses the core speech recognition technology used by Search and Assistant.

One of the features of Duplex that attracted so much attention is the way the voice not only sounds so naturally human - it also includes the intermittent pauses, the "ums" and "ahs" that show up in normal conversation.

Google, to be sure, has already retooled the way Duplex interacts on calls just a bit since showing it off at I/O. They claim that the service is not being tested by any enterprise consumers. The interested company remains unnamed, but it is reported to be a large insurance company. Which is why the tech giant thinks its Duplex AI - which sounds so human and can imitate the quirks of human speech so well that it's nearly creepy - would be a ideal addition to call centers.

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