Gizmodo reports via The Information that Google is making moves to see if its human-sounding AI assistant can be used in at least one potential customer's call center operations. Reports indicate that at least one insurance company is eyeing Duplex to handle routine calls. Testing, they note, is still in the early stages, and the system is several months from going live.
If successful, Google Duplex could disrupt the call-center business and potentially put many call center workers out of their jobs. As we shared last week, Duplex is created to operate in very specific use cases, and now we're focused on testing with restaurant reservations, hair salon booking, and holiday hours with a limited set of trusted testers. "It's important that we get the experience right both for people and for businesses, and we're taking a slow and measured approach as we incorporate learnings and feedback from our tests", the spokesperson said. According to a report today, this is the case for Google Duplex, with companies already testing it for possible use in call centers. With the help of Duplex, call centers will be able to replace some of the work done by humans.
We're now focused on consumer use cases for the Duplex technology and we aren't testing Duplex with any enterprise clients.
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.
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. 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.
Amazon offers a similar service, opening Alexa's underlying technology to enterprise customers previous year. Suddenly the world was anxious that people in the future would not know whether they were talking to humans or machines. Most companies already outsource the work to countries where they can pay paltry wages in order to keep the expenses related to customer service down, and AI would likely cut those costs even more.