In order to survive in today’s economy businesses have embraced technology to increase efficiency and improve their productivity. Specifically, businesses realized that to survive in a rapidly changing digital age business completely change and restructure themselves replacing their analog operators with websites and software. However, there is new innovation that could revolutionize businesses for years to come. Earlier this year at the I/O Conference Google CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled a new AI addition to Google Assistant. Called Duplex, this new fully autonomous AI is designed to imitate a real-world office assistant capable of automatically booking appointments via the phone. Using advanced networks, voice recognition technology, and speech engines Duplex can easily mimic human speech and conversation using a human sounding voice with the ability to say interjections like “Hmm or “Erm”. Duplex’s advanced capabilities was put to the test when Pichai asked Duplex to set up an appointment with a local hair salon during the conference. The AI flawlessly booked the appointment while totally duping the unwitting salon assistant through casual conversation.
Of course, Duplex is still limited, it can only complete specific tasks such as booking appointments or making dinner reservations. However, the introduction of this technology opens up new possibilities for small businesses. For those businesses that still use analog operators they do not need to buy a website with built-in appointment booking. Instead the customers can just use Duplex to appoint them. Additionally, businesses don’t need to train up new staff to book appointments since Duplex can do that for them. Duplex can also reduce no-show appointments since it can remind customers about their upcoming appointments that either allows rescheduling or cancellation. For businesses that are on holiday or on off hours Duplex can take calls during those hours which reduces the overall calls to the business and give more information to their customers.
Duplex is able to offer a nice middle ground between the usage of analog operators and the fully digitized. The introduction of Duplex represents a great advance in AI technology as well as new shift in business technology. The need to fully digitize a business is now a choice instead of a need for survival.