Google Duplex AI Assistant ready to replace call centers

Posted July 09, 2018

Specifically, the report mentions an insurance company thinking about using Duplex to handle routine calls, and passing things off to a live operator in more complex situations.

A report from The Information reveals that third-parties are in the "very early stages of testing Google's technology for use in other applications".

"We're now focused on consumer use cases for the Duplex technology where we can help people get things done, rather than applying it to potential enterprise use cases".

Google, though, has since issued a denial that it's working on any "enterprise" use cases for Google Duplex, and for the time being is concentrating on a limited number of consumer uses - booking appointments at hair salons and restaurants, for example. "We aren't testing Duplex with any enterprise clients", a Google spokesperson told Gizmodo. 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.

If Google was looking to bring Duplex into call centres, it wouldn't be the first tech giant to consider rolling its AI into the telemarketing industry.

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This report comes during a time when the cloud-based customer call-center industry is increasingly growing one that raked in $6.8 billion previous year with no signs of slowing down.

With cloud-based call centres predicted to grow into a $21 billion market by 2022, there's plenty of reason for the likes of Google and Amazon to take an interest in the sector. Duplex can call them for you so you don't have to negotiate or be put on hold.

Google's promise that its current focus is on restaurant reservations may be a comfort to call-centre employees, but it's hard not to imagine the company taking an interest in the sector. Google may be on its way to use its human-sounding assistant for handling customer calls.

Meanwhile, the day appears to be coming soon when you pick up the phone to make that dreaded customer service call, only to be met not by a harried hourly worker but by a silky-voiced computer system on the other end that doesn't get ruffled, is abundantly helpful and quickly gets you whatever you need. According to The Information, "ethical concerns" overshadowed Google's demonstration of the Duplex technology, and the company interested in the assistant has pumped the brakes on the proposed project.