Google debut their new Google Duplex System at Google IO 2018. Google IO is the company’s annual developer conference.  The technology will allow Google to mimic human conversation.  The examples given in the demo were booking a haircut and trying to reserve a table at a restaurant.  The performance was awe inspiring, to say the least.

What Is Google Duplex?

Simply put, Google Duplex as experimental technology that Google has developed that allows Google machines to mimic human conversation.  As a sort of disclaimer, Google points out that the technology is highly optimized for just a few fields. It doesn’t work for many things.

It sounds very useful, BUT…

Is It A Good Thing?

How ethical will this new technology be? In the short story, Runaround, written by Isaac Asimov in 1942 we find ground rules for the robots:

  1.  A robot may not injure a human being, either actively or through inaction. Nor will they allow a human being to come into harm.
  2. A robot must obey all orders given by human beings except if the orders conflict with the First Law, above.
  3. The robot must protect its own existence so long as that protection does not conflict with the First or Second laws above.

Since then, people have added more laws on to this base set.

Lyuben Dilov, who wrote Icarus’s Way, states that a robot must establish its identity as a robot in all cases.

So, herein do the problems begin.  The digital assistant never identified herself (itself) as a bot.  It’s mannerisms, especially the Hmm-mm, trick you immediately into dropping your guard and suspecting nothing out of the ordinary.

How Google plans to make this disclosure will be curious.  On the Google SERPS page, for instance, Google places a small notice that says ‘Ad’ next to the top 3 or so sites.  This lets you know that they paid to be there.   They may or, may not,  be the most relevant to what you’re looking for.  Tech savvy folk know this and ignore the ‘Paid’ results.  Others, not so in-the-know, don’t realize the reality of it and click on them anyway.

How About Security Issues?

It only takes a minute or so of a recorded voice to simulate that voice fairly accurately.  Combine that with the crappy phone security systems that many places use for phone calls, and we could invite problems.  When I call my bank for a bit of phone assistance, if the person on the other end recognizes my voice, I don’t have to endure all of the verification steps.  Now, I may feel glad for those pesky steps.

So What Is It Useful For?

If it makes calls pretty good, can it also answer the phone for me?  That would be a big help, wouldn’t it?  Hard to say, in the long run.  Could it take orders and process credit card applications from customers? What if your bot calls my bot?  Will they hit it off?

This technology will have profound effects on our communications.  There will be multiple angles to bank from it.  What those angles are, I don’t know, yet.  I am going to definitely keep a finger on this pulse and see which directions it takes off toward.

One thing we can know for sure.  In order for AI to be efficient and accurate it will rely of Structured Data.  If the system you are building, like dinner reservations, is based on the data at, Google only has to tie into that to begin to understand what the goal of the interaction is.  Google doesn’t have to re-invent the wheel with each new engine that it builds.  It detects the Schema structured data and magically, it works.  Obviously, then, if your website already is using structured data to its full potential in your local SEO strategy, you are way ahead of the game.



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About Eric Alexander

I've been designing and search-optimizing websites for well over a decade. I build custom websites in Lawton, Oklahoma for businesses all around the country, and help them get found in the Search Engines. Give me a call.