Nothing scares conspiracy theorists more than an upcoming AI revolution. Well, that and lizard people of course.
But as things go right now, companies are beginning to take notice of the benefits of automating core business functions. B2B marketers are already using marketing automation and AI-based CRM for their campaigns, and businesses have noted positive effects to their bottom lines using these technologies.
Apparently, there’s no stopping the AI revolution, at least when it comes down to doing business. And just when we thought that AI has reached its apex, Google announced a new AI system that can either pave the way to a more automated future for businesses or open up ethical concerns over the use of robots for human communication.
Regardless, this new service from the world’s biggest tech and search engine company will certainly impact the way marketers engage their audiences.
But what is Google Duplex though?
Right after its unveiling in 2016, Google Assistant provided users with productivity features across a plethora of devices. One of the most stunning features of this product is the fact that it can interact naturally with the user to perform a variety of tasks. If you want to schedule an appointment with your dentist? Have Google Assistant do it for you. Searching for an omelet recipe online? The Google Assistant can save you time by searching the recipe on its own.
The technology is far from perfect, but it has definitely opened the way to the future, not only for the normal user but for B2B companies as well. Things got more interesting after Google announced Google Duplex during the I/O 2018 Conference. The technology according to Sundar Pichai, can do a variety of phone-based tasks on a user’s behalf, from making dinner reservations to scheduling appointments.
“Our Vision for (Google Assistant) is to help you get things done,” Pichai said. “It turns out, a big part of getting things done is making a phone call… We want to connect users to businesses in a good way.”
Indeed, the technology allows effective engagements to happen with users who don’t have the convenience of time to make phone calls themselves. But what is more impressive – and a tad bit “unsettling” – about this technology is its ability to understand natural human speech. And by that, it is capable of active listening, just like a normal human being.
What’s more, Google Duplex allows the Assistant to respond in a natural sounding manner, with verbal mannerisms and the works. In a demo call presented by Pichai, the Assistant was tasked to make a reservation at a hair salon. The Assistant’s voice was so human that the lady on the other end wasn’t aware that she was actually talking to a machine. Amazing, right? But critics were quick to point out that the conversation was faked for marketing purposes. Despite these claims, the concept in itself would pass off as a powerful business tool.
A Future in B2B
We can only imagine how Google Duplex and other automated speech platforms would be applied to B2B telemarketing campaigns. As companies are focusing more on keeping their audience outreach efforts less robotic, we can expect investments to pour in perfecting such technologies.
But will AI really achieve the results developers expect them to generate?
Ever since it was unveiled, Google Duplex has been the subject of scrutiny by tech experts, saying that it would lead to a dangerous ethical precedent. Would it be right for companies to replace actual humans with machines for their lead generation and appointment setting activities? And would AI prove to be better than human telemarketers when it comes right down to getting higher sales conversions?
It’s still too early to call. Right now, businesses still depend on human marketers to engage potential customers and are still getting substantial successes. Sure enough, as tech companies are getting closer to achieving fully functioning AI systems, B2B businesses will have to prepare themselves for what’s to come by keeping an eye out for these developments, according to Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers.
For now, we can rest easy knowing that an AI revolution is pretty much unlikely to happen. JUst be sure to stack up on shotgun shells and canned food, you know, just in case a Skynet-eque system becomes sentient.