Google has launched in limited rollout a thing called Duplex. This is that thing you might have heard about where an AI will make reservations to businesses on your behalf.

As a person with debilitating phone call issues and anxieties I REALLY want this type of thing to get more positive press and development. Instead of whatever angle they are trying to sell this on, “a busy life” or whatever high roller thing, they should REALLY push for assistive technologies for disabled peoples and people with mental health concerns. Phone calls are something in which for the most part neither party are warned about in advance and you can’t communicate body language with. I really dislike phone calls and prefer to use texting or email. I fully realize that you can’t use inflection and other non-verbal communication methods with text, but you can fake it very well mainly because you can type anything with any format and verify that what you were saying was understood. But if I could, for example, have my Pixel 2 or Google Home Mini call up the pharmacy or my doctor or the social security office or WHATEVER and have it relay a message that I describe to it or tell it what I want as an end result OR simply be a silent third party that selects responses for the AI to use during the call, that would be so freeing for my anxiety. Having the AI pick up phone calls that I’m not expecting and basically being a secretary sounds perfect too.

I’m not one of those that is afraid of how much Google is in my life and I use all their features to help me in my day to day life. I have two Google Home Mini devices that I talk to constantly and set reminders with and ask questions to. I automate my entire schedule with Google. I say goodnight to my Mini and it tells me what I’m doing when I wake up and the weather and then turns off all the lights in my apartment after setting the alarm for 9am. Adding Duplex to what I already use would very much so be enabling to my independence.

Think about most phone calls for a second. Very simple interactions where you either provide information and then hang up or verify information and hang up. It’s crazy that we even need to MAKE phone calls at this point in our history. Why can’t our machines, our computers, our cyber-selves just talk about all this stuff automatically without the error and slowness of human communication. Yes, right now it would be an AI talking to a human on the other end but once it becomes AI to AI communication, does it REALLY need to have a conversation, or can it just start making modem noises and hang up after 5 seconds and gotten everything digitally transmitted? If you are against this whole Google Duplex thing and think it is scary or intrusive then you are just on the wrong side of history my friend. We as humans need to use AI to help us and help the disabled in order to make each and every one of our lives a bit more bearable.