Google Duplex is an artificial intelligence (AI) chat agent that can carry out specific verbal tasks, such as making a reservation or appointment, over the phone. Duplex, which uses natural language understanding (NLU) and natural language generation (NLG) to carry on a two-way conversation, incorporates interjections and pauses in such a lifelike manner that someone listening in could easily mistake a human-to-computer transaction for a human-to-human conversation.
Duplex is built on a recurrent neural network (RNN) using TensorFlow Extended, a general purpose machine learning platform used at Google. The Duplex system is designed to carry out tasks autonomously but has the ability to signal a human operator should the program not be able to complete the task at hand.
Duplex was unveiled at Google I/O 2018 along with the rebranding of Google Research to Google AI. Duplex's voice interface is so realistic that it has been criticized for creating an uncanny valley user experience. In response, Google announced it intends to include a built-in disclosure feature that will alert humans when they are speaking to an artificial intelligence agent and is now describing Duplex as an "automated booking service."
See also: Google Assistant