Nearly One-Fourth Google Duplex Reservation Calls Require Human Intervention

At its I/O 2018 conference last year, Google stunned the audience by introducing Duplex. Google’s AI calling assistant was recently made available to owners of both Android devices as well as iPhones. For now, however, the service is only available in the United States. While there is no doubt that Google Duplex is highly impressive, Google has now revealed that sometimes Duplex calls actually require human intervention.

Human Involvement

Speaking with Brian X. Chen from The New York Times, Google confirmed that around 25 percent of calls placed through Duplex start with human intervention, while about 15 percent of them began with an automated system but had the human intervention at a later point.

While testing Duplex, Google found that among four successful bookings made with Duplex, three were actually done by people. That said, Duplex calls using solely the AI assistant sounded like a real person and was even capable of responding to some nuanced questions by callers on the other side.

For now, Google has no plans of ending human intervention for Duplex. Nick Fox, who oversees the assistant, told The New York Times that the company is not “aggressively trying” to eliminate human involvement from Duplex. Doing so, he believes, could make the experience for business owners worse. Instead of eliminating human involvement entirely, Google is working on improving the automated system and gradually reduce the need for human intervention.

Thanks to neural networks, AI has been able to learn various tasks by analyzing enormous volumes of data. This has allowed for significant improvements in a machine’s ability to recognize spoken words and also how those words are actually used. As Google is focusing mainly on restaurant reservations with Duplex, the company is hopeful of training future versions of the AI assistant to handle calls better by generating large amounts of data using human callers.

Tony Barratt
Tony is a law student who considers himself to be a smartphone guru. Apart from his perennial love for gadgets, he is also an avid movie buff and a staunch audiophile.