Google’s Crazy Reservation-Making A.I. Is Coming to iPhone

Google Assistant Reservations Ai Credit: Google
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Google’s reservation-making artificial intelligence system is coming to the iPhone and other devices, the firm announced on Wednesday.

The cool (yet somewhat creepy) Duplex technology allows Google Assistant to call local businesses and make reservations with a human-sounding AI voice. Yes, that means you don’t have to interact with a restaurant at all to book a table.

All you need to do is invoke Google Assistant and ask it to book a table with a specified time and number of seats. The AI will then make the call for you and have what is essentially a conversation with the person on the other end. If it’s successful, it’ll even update your calendar with the reservation.

Google Duplex is already usable in 43 states across the U.S., but it is currently restricted to first-party Google Pixel devices. But a blog post on Wednesday reveals that the company has plans to bring Duplex to a wider variety of smartphones.

“Over the next few weeks, we’ll start slowly bringing this feature to more Android and iOS devices, and will continue to incorporate feedback as we continue testing,” said Scott Huffman, Google Assistant’s vice president.

The Mountain View company first announced the Duplex technology last year. Since then, it’s become available in every U.S. state except Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska and Texas.

Notably, this is also the first indication that the Duplex feature would actually come to Apple’s devices. While unexpected, it’s not necessarily out-of-character for Google — some of the company’s other advanced AI features are already available on iOS via app.

While it’s undoubtedly a cool feature and will turn out to be useful for busy people, it is also slightly unnerving. Mostly, that’s because the AI may sound so human that the person on the other end would never know that they’re not talking to a person. (Though Google later clarified that Assistant would identify itself as an AI feature.)

As far as when you’ll be able to use it on iOS, Google hasn’t nailed down a firm roll out schedule. On the other hand, it noted that the release could “take some time.”

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