Google tech can make phone calls for users

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Photo: NBC San Diego Photo: NBC San Diego

 MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (WAND) – Google announced a slew of eyebrow-raising features this week – including the ability for AI to make calls for people.

It’s called Google Duplex. The feature, which Google announced Tuesday at its Google I/O conference, showcased the software’s ability to call real people and complete a full conversation on its own. It can schedule appointments and make dinner reservations.

NBC News reports it even knows how to mimic the way real people talk, adding words like “um” or “uh” to sound real. The conference audience let out some cheers when Google demonstrated a call on screen.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai says there are still things to work on to improve the software. During the initial testing period, he says “experienced operators” will monitor a call and take the wheel if there is an issue. He says supervision won’t be needed once enough tweaks and improvements are made, adding that the end goal is to “get this right”.

The company says it will start making the software available in the next few weeks.

Google also says improvements to Gmail are coming, which will help people come up with “smart replies” when drafting emails. It will predict what someone might want to say in a reply and suggest options. Gmail users can select “try the new Gmail” in options at some point in the next several weeks and try it out.

Finally, the Google Assistant home speaker now has a “pretty please” feature that rewards words like “please” when people ask it to do things.

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