Article: Lao Thai Kitchen on The New York Times

Article: Lao Thai Kitchen on The New York Times

BREAKING NEWS! -- LAO THAI KITCHEN ON THE NEW YORK TIMES!

Brian X. Chen and Cade Metz doing a New York Times story with Lao Thai Kitchen. — Here’s The New York Times story with Lao Thai Kitchen!

ALBANY, Calif. — On a recent afternoon at the Lao Thai Kitchen restaurant, the telephone rang and the caller ID read “Google Assistant.” Jimmy Tran, a waiter, answered the phone. The caller was a man with an Irish accent hoping to book a dinner reservation for two on the weekend.

This was no ordinary booking. It came through Google Duplex, a free service that uses artificial intelligence to call restaurants and — mimicking a human voice — speak on our behalf to book a table. The feature, which had a limited release about a year ago, recently became available to a larger number of Android devices and iPhones.

The voice of the Irish man sounded eerily human. When asked whether he was a robot, the caller immediately replied, “No, I’m not a robot,” and laughed.

This is how the call went:

 

“It sounded very real,” Mr. Tran said in an interview after hanging up the call with Google. “It was perfectly human.”