Google Assistant

Is the AI takeover of the world getting closer than we thought? During the Google I/O 2018 keynote event today, company CEO Sundar Pichai presented an amazingly creepy demo for Google Assistant, showing that it could actually talk realistically to real people in automated voice calls.

The demo was designed to show how Google Assistant, using a new technology called Google Duplex, could make phone calls on behalf of real people for things like reservations for haircuts or for restaurants. In the first demo, the AI-driven voice for Google Assistant called for a woman who wanted to set up a haircut appointment. The demo showed the AI voice understanding the voice of the human on the other end of the call, and it made correct responses to that real person’s answers. Google Assistant’s voice even put in words like “um” to make it sound even more like a real human. After the phone call was completed, Google Assistant sent a notification to the original user informing them that their haircut appointment was confirmed.

In the second demo, Google Assistant called a restaurant and asked for a reservation for four people. Once again, the Google Assistant voice put in human-like expressions to make it sound more realistic.

Pichai stated that the company is still working on this technology, but that Google believes that this will help people save time on setting up appointments at businesses. It is already working with a small way to use Duplex to call businesses to find out if they will be closed on holidays, so it can then update its Google Maps listing for those locations, showing more accurate info on those holiday openings and closings.

More technical information on how Google Duplex works to create these AI-driven human voices has been posted on the Google AI blog. According to CNET, a small number of Google Assistant users will be able to test out this new feature sometime later this summer. Stay tuned for more announcements from the Google I/O 2018 keynote.