Artificial intelligence is turning one almighty corner, and it’s ready to change the face of technology as we know it.

Google Duplex has been making headlines around the world and has just been released on selected Google Pixel phones during its BETA phase.

Unlike Google assistant, Google Duplex is able to make reservations and appointments on your behalf. And all with a scarily life like voice.

But Google Duplex is actually a latecomer to the game.

Microsoft Xiaoice was launched in China in August 2017 and now has half a billion users. And Alibaba has A.I customer service agents for Cainiao, its logistics company.

Of course, Google is one of the biggest businesses in the world. So the release of Duplex has garnered mass attention on a global scale.

What Is Google Duplex?

Google Duplex is a life-like chatbot that takes advantage of artificial intelligence. It is able to make reservations and appointments on your behalf, or check the opening hours of businesses.

All you have to do to use the feature is launch the assistant and then say “Book a hair appointment at Maria’s salon for 4 p.m. on Wednesday.”

Google will contact the salon and make the appointment for you using a natural and human sounding voice.

Once the reservation has been made. You will receive a confirmation notification on your mobile phone.

Duplex sounds exactly like a real person. It uses speech disfluencies and natural pauses for a truly authentic human sound. Its ability to be able to understand conversation context could soon replace real life personal assistants.

In fact, the assistant sounds so life-like that it will mention that it is Google calling on behalf of the user. It will also ask if it is okay to record the call?

Who Will Duplex Benefit?

Of course, the technology is still relatively new and it may run into problems.

If duplex experiences any issues, it will use its self monitoring capabilities and ask you to help it out.

But who will benefit from Google Duplex? For a start, those who are short on time will be able to get the assistant to take care of their appointments on their behalf.

People who are phone shy (yes, it’s a real thing) will undoubtedly love the ability to use the phone without actually using it.

It will also be a useful tool for those who are hard of hearing or who are using a non-native language.

One important thing to note is that businesses have the option to opt out of receiving calls from Google Duplex.

As the technology grows, more and more businesses will either embrace it or reject it. This will make using duplex either much easier or much harder, depending on how well it is received.

Google Duplex Release Date

Google Duplex has already being released on a micro-scale. Rather than being a fully functional app, it is currently only able to perform basic functions.

The actual release date for Google duplex will largely depend on its current live trials. For now, Duplex only uses English and only works for restaurant bookings.

All of the phone calls that duplex makes are being recorded. Which will then be analyzed by Google to collect performance data. Once sufficient data has been gathered, a solid release date is likely to be announced.

Can I Download the Google Duplex App?

Unfortunately, Google duplex is not available to download. The software is currently going through selective testing in only a few cities and only on Pixel phones.

You will have to wait for the app to arrive. It is believed that Google Duplex will be rolled out on a larger scale somewhere toward the middle of 2019.

Ultimately, this will all depend on how the trial goes and whether it is seen as something people will happily adopt into their life.

Google Duplex Privacy Issues

One of the biggest concerns that many people have about Google Duplex is privacy. You only have to look on the internet to see the giant can of worms that AI is opening.

Google Duplex will make it clear that it intends to record the conversation. This makes it easier for the call receiver to opt out and cut the call.

However. If your privacy is a concern, then the Google ‘my activity’ page in your Google account might just terrify you.

Created to satisfy the GDPR (general data protection regulations) put in place in the EU, you can now see exactly what information Google has been collecting.

just to give you a rough idea of what information is collected by Google:

  • Web and app activity
  • Location history
  • YouTube search history
  • YouTube watch activity
  • YouTube comments, likes and dislikes
  • Call and message information
  • Order history
  • Voice and audio activity
  • Device information
  • Chrome history

And here is a screenshot of the things Google picks up on. This really is scary!

Google my activity

Before the GDPR came into effect, it was almost impossible to find out what information Google was collecting about you.

Luckily, you are able to deactivate the majority of the ways that Google collects your data.

Of course, this all serves to highlight how AI can be used to collect your personal information. And why many people are against such life like chatbots making their way into the world.

And with different countries having different regulations concerning data collection, who knows what information AI gather without your knowledge.

If you want to learn more about GDPR and how it works. Why not check out our post explaining the basics? 

What the GDPR means to Australian Business?