Exclusive: Google’s Duplex could make Assistant the most lifelike AI yet


The conversation seems mundane. At least, at first.

In a building called the Partnerplex on Google’s sprawling campus in Mountain View, California, I’ve been invited to hear a 51-second phone recording of someone making a dinner reservation.

Person 1: Good evening.
Person 2: Hello?
Person 1: Hello.
Person 2: Hi, um, I’d like to reserve a table for Friday the third.
Person 1: OK, hold on one moment.
Person 2: Mm hmm.
Person 1: OK… hold on one second.
Person 2: Mm hmm.
Person 1: So Friday November third. How many people?
Person 2: For… two people.
Person 1: Two people?
Person 2: Yeah.

As I listen to what sounds like a man and a woman talking, Google’s top executives for Assistant, the search giant’s digital helper, watch closely to gauge my reaction. They’re showing off the Assistant’s new tricks a few days before Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference that starts Tuesday.

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