14% of Google Assistant calls are handled by humans

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May 23, 2019
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Google introduced the most innovative upgrade in its Assistant — Google Duplex at last year’s Google I/O. Google Duplex has become popular among Android users as the feature allows Google Assistant to do amazing tasks like booking a restaurant reservation using Artificial Intelligence. This year in March, the feature was pushed out to all Pixel handsets and is now available in 43 states across the US.

As of now, Google Duplex is up and running for other Android phones in select markets and including the Cupertino tech giant Apple’s latest iPhones. As time passes, Duplex is expected to do more complex tasks like booking a hairdressers appointment or reserve a car rental. But for now, it needs human support in such tasks at least according to this new report.

According to The Verge, a quarter of Google Duplex calls are actually started by a human. The media outlet notes that 14% of Duplex calls start off using the Assistant but require someone from Google’s call center to complete the call. The intriguing question at this point is how Google determines whether to start a call with a human or the Assistant?

There are quite a few solutions to that. For an instant, if Duplex isn’t sure whether an actual person is asking for reservations, or the person making the reservation is a spammer, it will transfer the call to a Google call center representative. The company claims it’s using human intervention to help it gather the information that can be used to for Duplex learning.

At the moment, when you ask Google Assistant to make a reservation, it will first try to do this using apps like Open Table and Yelp. If these are unavailable, Google Assistant or a human will have to make the call to the respective restaurant for a reservation. However, there is a possibility that restaurants may not answer Duplex’s call because they appear like spam on a restaurant’s Caller ID.

To conclude, we must understand that these are just the early days for the Duplex technology and the search giant will certainly have to use feedback from users and restaurants to improve the feature going in coming years.

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