If only Google Duplex had been around when I was a teenager. Then I wouldn’t have had to um and ahh my way through so many embarrassing, rambling attempts to ask girls out. Google could’ve made the call for me. Complete with ums and ahhs.
I recently watched a demonstration of this new tech. Duplex was ringing up to make an appointment at a hair salon for ‘a client.’ To my ears, the hairdresser sounded more like a bot than the A.I. But the conversation flowed naturally enough and the audience got pretty excited.
It’s possible that this latest Google creation has come about because millennials don’t use their phone to phone people. They text. All the time. In fact, they prefer messaging to talking so much, a recent BBC blog named them Generation Mute.
For this generation, getting a Google Assistant to do their talking for them will be as normal as texting or messaging someone who’s right there in the room with them. A survey in UK revealed that 49% of teenagers have admitted to doing just that.
Anyway, Google Duplex isn’t out there just yet. The hairdresser conversation was so normal it was spooky. People don’t like the idea of being duped by an A.I. and there have already been calls for controls to be put in place so we will always know who or what we’re talking to.
Are these controls really necessary? Maybe. Maybe not. After all, people don’t really phone anyone anymore. Which means if you do get a call, it’s pretty easy to work it out. It’s either your Mum or a machine.
Peter Goodall is BCM’s Creative Director