Alibaba’s AI Customer Service is much better than Google Duplex

A long-standing goal of an interaction between humans and computers has been to enable people to have a free conversation with machines, as they would with each other. In recent years, we have witnessed a revolution in the ability of computers to understand and to generate natural speech, especially with the application of deep neural networks.

One of the inventions in this area was Google Duplex. As you probably know, Duplex is a technology for conducting natural conversations to carry out “real world” tasks over the phone. The technology is directed towards completing specific tasks, such as scheduling certain types of appointments. For such tasks, the system makes the conversational experience as natural as possible, allowing people to speak normally, like they would to another person, without having to adapt to a machine. For example, Duplex can automatically reserve a table for you in a restaurant, using a phone call to a manager.

While Google is still testing and developing their new system on a small amount of Pixel phone Users, another giant tech company Alibaba already has a working model. It is used not for restaurants, but for an even narrower niche – the delivery of goods. At an annual AI research gathering, the e-commerce giant demoed a sample conversation where the voice-assistant was tasked to ask a customer where the package should be delivered.

The most amazing thing is that Alibaba’s voice assistant was able to deal with some controversial situations during the dialog such as interruption (pauses), nonlinear conversation (customer starts a new line of inquiry), and implicit intent (customer doesn’t explicitly says what he actually means). It is an amazing new which also once again underlines the superiority of China in the field of artificial intelligence, by the way. Currently, the agent is used only to coordinate package deliveries, but it could also be expanded to handle other topics.



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Kuchur Dzianis

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3 thoughts on “Alibaba’s AI Customer Service is much better than Google Duplex

  1. Avatar Kliachkovski Danila says:

    I think that this technology will enjoy great popularity in the future because in our life even for a regular phone call sometimes a person does not have time so this will be a good solution in different cases. However, I think that more time is needed so that the program can answer any question in any situation.

  2. Avatar Kovalenko Oleksandr says:

    A couple of problems spring immediately to mind. First, the use of embedded “uh”s and other artifacts to try fool the listener into believing that they are speaking to a human may well engender blowback as these systems are deployed. My sense is that humans in general don’t mind talking to machines so long as they know that they’re doing so. I anticipate significant negative reactions by many persons who ultimately discover that they’ve been essentially conned into thinking they’re talking to a human, when they actually were not. However this concept can easily take place in the modern world, which is becoming more and more robotized every day.

    • Avatar Kuchur Dzianis says:

      Do not be worry so much. As I know, both Google and Alibaba assitants will identify themselves as machines before starting a conversation. The ethical side of this technology is already solved.

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