AI Can Now Answer Your Phone

Artificial intelligence is one of the hottest buzzwords in business today. Across almost every modern industry, from retail to sporting events, it seems like everyone is planning to implement AI into their systems to improve customer experiences and satisfaction.

While the idea of AI is certainly nothing new, the rapid development and advancement of technology over the past two decades have turned AI from a fantasy into a very attainable and tangible reality. In 2019, the question regarding AI is no longer if it will become part of our daily lives, but when.

One of the newest ways in which AI is being implemented into our daily lives is through phone services. AI can now answer both your personal and business phones, and there is even AI being developed that can place human-like phone calls for you. Let’s take a look at a few ways that AI is changing phone calls.

AI in call centers

Automation has long been a part of call centers all over the globe, dating back all the way to the 1950s. As the years passed and technology developed, call centers have increased their efficiency and customer convenience dramatically. One major part of this improvement has been the widespread adoption of ACDs.

“ACDs”, or automatic call distributors, became common in the 1970s and are still used in call centers today. For those unfamiliar, ACDs distribute incoming business calls to the relevant department and representative for each caller. An example of an ACD would be calling a bank and following a prompt on your phone to connect to the department you are looking for.

Many modern ACD systems are now incorporating highly advanced software into their services that use elements of AI to improve callers’ experiences. These systems can match callers based on their previous call history and the urgency of their call. Information on callers and accounts are actively remembered and stored by the software, and then used the next time that client calls to streamline the customer service process.

AI for call screening

Believe it or not, personal call screening with artificial intelligence is a real thing that’s currently available. We’ve all received annoying calls from unknown numbers, or robotic spam calls. With this in mind, Google developed its own call screening feature and built it into its latest Pixel 3 smartphones. The call screening is powered by Google’s AI, dubbed Google Assistant, and provides Pixel 3 owners with the ability to screen callers before answering or rejecting an incoming call.

If activated, the AI greets callers in a customizable voice, lets them know they are speaking with an automated service, and asks them to identify themselves and explain why they are calling. The AI will then transcribe the caller’s response in real time and allow users to make a decision regarding the call.


AI as a phone assistant

Google is also starting to roll out AI that is capable of placing phone calls for you, basically acting as your own robotic personal assistant. Unveiled in in the spring of 2018, Google Duplex is slowly being made available across Google smartphones and devices.

Primarily intended for scheduling appointments such as dinner reservations, the AI system is capable of sounding eerily close to a human. During Duplex’s initial reveal, Google played audio of the AI scheduling a haircut, and the hair salon employee on the other end of the call didn’t suspect at all that they were speaking to anything but a real person. Duplex even mimics human-like speech behavior such as pausing at certain points and adding phrases like “mhm”.

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