- Paige Leskin/Business Insider
- Google Duplex, Google’s AI-powered reservation service, still relies on people working in call centers to ensure that the technology functions correctly, according to a recent report from the New York Times.
- While the service is advertised as an automated process using Google’s virtual assistant and artificial intelligence, the report revealed that about one in four calls placed through Duplex were initiated by a human caller.
- The Times reports that about 15% of calls started by the AI service required human intervention.
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Google’s Duplex is a free service that uses artificial intelligence to book reservations through the company’s virtual assistant, but a recent report from The New York Times suggests that Duplex still relies on people working in call centers to make sure that bookings are completed properly.
Google told the Times that approximately 25% of the reservation calls made with Duplex are started by a human caller, and about 15% of the calls initiated by the artificial intelligence require human intervention. In a sample test of four reservations made with Duplex by Times reporters Brian Chen and Cade Metz, only one of them was made from start to finish by an AI-caller. The other three reservations were completed by real people.
According to the Times, Google isn’t in a rush to replace the human callers, since they help prevent problems that would impact unsuspecting business owners.
Duplex is designed to sound human and account for a variety of questions, but a failure to complete a reservation would ultimately amount to a loss of business and a waste of valuable time for restaurants and other businesses.
Google has promoted Duplex as an entirely automated service that makes use of sophisticated technology, so it’s a bit ironic that the AI service is so dependent on traditional workers. However, in the one case where Duplex’s AI was able to complete the reservation, the restaurant owner said it was just like talking to a real person.
It seems like it will take some time for Duplex to become fully autonomous, but until that day comes, people using Google Assistant can trust that someone will be ready intervene if their reservations go awry.
To learn more about how the New York Times tested Duplex’s booking process, be sure to check out the full story.