Google made a number of exciting announcements at the recent I/O conference, with incredible updates such as a version of autocomplete on email, and recommendations that learn your preferences on Google being overshadowed by something extraordinary.
Voice calling will mean that those annoying scheduling phone calls will become a thing of the past. The new system, which will identify itself as a piece of artificial intelligence at the beginning of a call, will have full-blown conversations with everyone from clients to plumbers, listening, negotiating and booking in times in your Google calendar. A demonstration at the conference blew the audience away – and with good reason; the AI uses human noises to create a sense of realism. As the person is responding, noises like ‘aha,’ and ‘hmmm,’ are made as naturally as if it was a real person. Additionally, the AI gets smarter as it makes more calls, using machine learning to become even more authentic.
But the really exciting phase may come when two AI bots begin talking to each other. At the moment, a conversation is instigated by a bot, who carries out a conversation with a human. This is a good timesaver for the human obviously, but when two bots begin genuine conversations based on machine learning, things can get really interesting.
Consider the conversation, or rather the non-existent conversation. Two bots who have used machine learning to understand the habits of their human counterparts are tasked with booking a meeting at some stage on a Tuesday. Within a few seconds, they will be able to analyse existing appointments, work out where each of the humans will be, and benchmark this against their traditional meeting places, eating habits and coffee preferences. All of this happens in silence, and the only thing the humans see is a meeting that appears magically in their calendar at a suitable time and a preferable location. If that time or location isn’t ideal, either of the humans can explain to the AI why the location or time isn’t perfect, and the bot learns something more and reschedules the appointment.
It is unlikely that this is the end of voice calling, as many journalists are dramatically touting, but it is certainly a meaningful step forward in effective scheduling.