One of the most impressive (and unsettling) I/O moments happened earlier this year when Google showed off Duplex, an AI chatbot that can place calls for you like a robotic personal assistant. Google wouldn't confirm its plans for Duplex at the time, but it's almost ready for the general public. Duplex is hitting Pixel phones starting next month, but it won't be available everywhere.
The idea behind Duplex is that you don't always want to call a human on the phone to make an appointment or book a reservation. So, Google can call for you and add the information to your calendar. The demo at I/O was suspiciously good, but Google says most Duplex calls work out just fine. You may soon have a chance to test that yourself. Duplex will become part of the Google Assistant experience on Pixel phones later this year, but it's rolling out on a city-by-city basis. The first batch includes New York, Atlanta, Phoenix, and the San Francisco Bay Area. It will launch in more areas later.
Businesses will have the option of opting out of the Duplex call when they get it (the system announces itself as a bot) or by blocking all Duplex calls via their business listing in Google. However, Google thinks businesses will embrace Duplex. We're about to find out.