June 4: In May, Google unveiled its robo-caller which sounds uncannily human. Many had been asking how this works. We, now, have an answer to this query.
Details of how the Duplex robot- calling feature will work were disclosed by Alphabet Inc. According to the company, Duplex is an extension of its voice- based digital assistant which automatically phones local businesses and speaks the workers there to book appointments. This bot will identify itself as Google Assistant.
The executives of Google, on May 31, gave the first full demo of Duplex to the employees at the company’s weekly TGIF staff meeting. As per the statements made by a source, the feature will inform the people on phone that that call is being recorded.
The duplex was revealed by Google at the I/O developer conference in May, where they played several clips of the seature booking haircut and a restaurant table with impressively casual speech. Google was able to impress a lot of developers but offended those who criticized Google for coming up with an AI bot which impersonates humans.
Post demo, the company said that the facility will be ‘appropriately identified’ on calls. Duplex team had been working on the disclosure and ethical implication long before the reveal of the bot in May, the executives reassured their staff at the TGIF staff meeting held recently.
Google has not yet disclosed whether the people in the demos were aware that they were speaking to a Google bot or being recorded. As per the Digital Media Law Project, various US states including California, Washington, Florida and Massachusetts have two party consent laws which forbid people or companies from recording phone calls without consent.
Google in a blog post about Duplex, wrote that the businesses which cannot book appoints online will be beneficiaries of this service. The post also read that the service will be made available without any additional expense or staff training. The bot said that it was calling for ‘a client’ in the demo where it booked a hair appointment. There are reports that the company edited some of the recordings in order to protect the business identity.