Google Assistant is Finally Speaking like a Human and It Can Make Calls on Your Behalf Too

May 9, 2018, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

 It wouldn’t sound bit exaggerated when saying that Google’s investment off-recently have mostly been centered around Google Assistant rather than on AI as a whole. The digital assistant, which is already outfitted with AI and machine learning capabilities, have become the core of many Google applications, and it’s soon to get expanded to other services as well.

At keynote of Google I/O Conference 2018, things were given a new dimension by CEO Sundar Pichai when he demonstrated a feature that was called Google Duplex. The feature is by no means the one you would have found under any of those flagged features inside Chrome. Instead, Google Duplex is the next big revolution that you can anticipate for.

So what is Duplex? Simply summing it up, Google Duplex is the human version of Google Assistant. Now that doesn’t imply that the Google Assistant is coming out in a physical form, but it’s something more than what even the physical humanoids of the modern day could do: speak like a human. While speaking robots or digital assistants are nothing new in the world of technology, Google’s demonstration of the Duplex did draw the line between a robotic conversation and human conversation.

AI is already equipped with the ability to carry on conversation for hours, but that’s sometimes, if not mostly, confined to typed conversations. Users can easily distinguish when hearing a robotic reply, but not with Duplex.

In a demo shown at the event, Google Duplex made real-life calls to make appointment at a hair salon and a restaurant, and stunningly, Google Assistant did lead the conversation like a human would have done. It was despite going through unexpected queries from the other side.

Apart from getting the job done pretty brilliantly by providing accurate replies, what takes thing further more interesting is the way in which Google managed its conversation. Duplex is able to understand the nuances of human conversation and respond in a similar fashion. That includes occasional usage of words like ‘umm’, ‘uh’ and ‘Mm-hmm’ in between sentences to keep up with the conversation. Google also fine-tunes the tone of its speech to keep it in line with the conversational tone.

Like with all the other machine learning and AI features, Duplex will only be getting evolved in areas like text-to-speech and natural language understanding, and that’s enough to keep it disguised as a human while making calls when it gets ready to be deployed.

In fact, Google has said that it has been working it for years, so the product we have just witnessed isn’t something that was quickly thrown at us. We surely are gearing up to witness a big overhaul in the digital assistant area.

As of now, there is no word on when Duplex will finally start making calls for us in our smartphones. But we hope it doesn’t take much time.

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