Google is moving ahead with Duplex, the stunningly human-sounding artificial intelligence software behind its new automated system that places phone calls on your behalf with a natural-sounding voice instead of a robotic one.

The search giant said Wednesday it’s beginning public testing of the software, which debuted in May and which is designed to make calls to businesses and book appointments. Duplex instantly raised questions over the ethics and privacy implications of using an AI assistant to hold lifelike conversations for you.

Google says its plan is to start its public trial with a small group of “trusted testers” and businesses that have opted into receiving calls from Duplex. Over the “coming weeks,” the software will only call businesses to confirm business and holiday hours, such as open and close times for the Fourth of July. People will be able to start booking reservations at restaurants and hair salons starting “later this summer.”

Source: Google opens its human-sounding Duplex AI to public testing – CNET