“Hello, how can I help you?
Hi, I’m calling to book a women’s haircut for a client. I’m looking for something on May 3rd.
Sure, give me one second.
This is what calls will sound like with Google’s latest innovation, Google Duplex.
At Google’s latest I/O 2018 conference in Mountain View California, the tech company announced the launch of this human-sounding voice assistant that is here to make our lives simpler; by booking appointments, making reservations and much more.
iTMunch has put together a list of top 6 things of Google’s jaw-dropping application of natural language and audio processing. Keep reading to know more.
1. What is Google Duplex?
Duplex is a new technology introduced by Google that can be used for conducting natural conversations to carry out ‘real world’ tasks just over the phone. Basically, an AI that helps you makes calls, without sounding like a machine.
2. What can you use Google Duplex for?
Google Duplex is not trained yet to perform all the tasks for you. As of now, the technology is directed towards completing a certain type of tasks like scheduling appointments. For completing such tasks, the assistant tries to make conversational experience sound as natural as possible. This allows you to speak normally like you would with any other human being, without having to adapt to a machine.
3. How does Google Duplex work?
This human-sounding assistant relies on a machine learning model drawn from anonymized real-world data, here, phone conversations. So how does this system actually work?
Just like Google Assistant, you will have to give a few parameters. In case you want to use Duplex for booking a salon appointment, you will have to provide the Assistant with details such as the salon name, timings you wish to book, etc. In case the salon has an online portal to book an appointment, the Assistant will book it through that, or else it will make a phone call.
Once the appointment is successfully booked, you will be notified about it and an entry will be added to your Calendar. This is where you can confirm that it was booked without any errors.
To make such calls, Google Duplex would not be using the same phone number of yours.
From a more technical perspective, this assistant uses RNN (recurrent neural network) built using TFX (TensorFlow Extended). This helps Duplex process sequential, contextual information, etc.
Also, to make sure that Duplex’s conversations sound natural, the team has used a combination of concatenative text to speech (TTS) and a synthesis TTS engine. This helps the system to integrate a natural way of responding while it is still processing. For example, “hmm”s and “uhh”s. This is what we tend to say when we are gathering our thoughts as well.
4. What makes Google Duplex so clever?
This Google Assistant that makes conversations sound so natural would not only help you book appointments, but also take a step further. For example, if you wish to book an appointment for 4 pm, and that time is not available; Duplex could ask what times are available and decide whether those timings suit your criteria. If none of the timings is suitable, it would call another restaurant. So it’s not only about making calls but taking a step further and notifying you about it only after the task is complete.
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5. When can you use Google Duplex?
The company plans to test Duplex over the summer, wherein it focuses on primary tasks such as making restaurant reservations, booking hair salon appointments, and asking about holiday hours. Google has not made it clear yet if the assistant will be limited to these tasks only.
6. What are the limitations of Google Duplex?
Although this AI by Google is able to make simple human-like conversations, it has a few limitations. Google says that Duplex is capable of completing “majority” of the tasks mentioned previously. This implies that Google’s assistant is well-trained for performing a few tasks without any errors, but not open-ended tasks like follow-up questions on specific services. With time, this could be subject to change. The video attached below is a small part of the IO 2018 conference, which is a demo of Google Duplex.
These are a few of things that give you a better idea about Google’s latest innovation, which makes interaction with technology via natural conversation a reality. Keep reading iTMunch for more such updates from the tech world.