Watch Google Assistant call a restaurant for you

Chris Burns - May 8, 2018
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Watch Google Assistant call a restaurant for you

The Google Assistant will soon be able to make phone calls on your behalf. That’s what Google CEO Sundar Pichai showed onstage today at Google IO 2018. The call itself wasn’t live, right on stage, but the call was apparently 100% real. It didn’t go as smoothly as was originally intended – but the Google Assistant kept up with the conversation just fine.

It was if the lady on the other end of the phone call didn’t realize she was speaking to an artificial intelligence. It was like she didn’t know there was a robotic voice on the other end of the line, controlled by machine learning and supercomputing in full effect. This is the creepiest Google’s ever gotten – and they’re not done yet.

So you ask your Google Assistant for a good restaurant. Once Google Assistant tells you the restaurant to choose, you say yes, that’s good, now make a reservation for this time and this date for this many people. If Google Assistant can’t do this automatically with an online registration system, it’ll simply make a call.

That’s not unexpected or making you feel like you live in a parallel universe where the robots have taken over our planet at all, right?

“Powered by a new technology we call Google Duplex, the Assistant can understand complex sentences, fast speech, and long remarks, so it can respond naturally in a phone conversation,” said Scott Huffman, VP, Engineering, Google Assistant. “Even though the calls will sound very natural, the Assistant will be clear about the intent of the call so businesses understand the context. Once your reservation or appointment is booked, the Assistant will add a calendar reminder for your appointment and allow you to cancel if needed.”

This is part of the full set of demonstrations done onstage at Google IO 2018 this afternoon. It was also shown that the Google Assistant will be able to roll with smart displays starting in July. And that six new voices would be made available this summer. And that kids will have to say “please” to the machine to get what they want. We’re going into a whole new universe.


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