Google is currently working on a new Assistant feature called ‘Duplex‘ that effectively turns the company’s digital assistant into a quasi-human personal assistant.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai showed off Duplex through two different phone calls.
In the first call, Google Assistant successfully navigated a simple exchange to arrange an appointment for a woman’s haircut.
Assistant was able to deliver the relevant information, while simultaneously responding to the hair salon’s follow up questions.
In the second phone call, Assistant navigated through a restaurant booking that required more nuance to complete.
Still, Assistant was able to successfully book a reservation for a number of people.
The AI announcements in this year’s #io18 are something out of this world! Google has been working on an AI that can have natural conversations with real people.
Here’s Google Assistant calling to a restaurant and making a table reservation on behalf of the user. pic.twitter.com/sNhEen6t91
— Codemate (@CodemateLtd) May 8, 2018
Duplex isn’t a feature that is currently available, nor does it seem like it will be ready within the immediate future.
“We’re still developing this technology,” said Pichai.
While the I/O 2018 demo was certainly impressive, it’s important to temper expectations.
To begin with, a May 8th, 2018 Google AI blog post explains that Duplex is only capable of carrying out natural conversations once the AI has been trained to do so.
“It cannot carry out general conversations,” reads an excerpt from the May blog post written by Google principal engineer Yaniv Leviathan and Google vice president of engineering Yossi Matias.
Additionally, while Google won’t be rolling out Duplex to average users just yet, the company plans on testing Duplex with Google Assistant later this summer.
“Allowing people to interact with technology as naturally as they interact with each other has been a long standing promise,” reads an excerpt from the same May 2018 blog post. “Google Duplex takes a step in this direction, making interaction with technology via natural conversation a reality in specific scenarios.”