A robot to help us filter uncomfortable calls


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The mobile phone rings and we automatically look at the screen; with less and less time and more spammers bombarding our mobiles, attending an unknown number can lead to a plot that steals too many minutes. What to do in that case? Many of the users choose not to answer calls from numbers they do not know, while others continue to rely on the answering machine to filter. But Google proposes another solution: use artificial intelligence.

The service, called Call Screening, was presented together with the sophisticated Pixel 3, but it was only a few days ago when some users saw the new button appear on their mobile screens, which advances a widespread deployment of the system. But … what exactly is this new service, how does it work and what does it really contribute to the user?

An automated call filter

The basic objective of this automated call filter is to save the user time, especially when the caller is an unknown and we dare not waste time finding out what he wants. The principle is the same as the one applied by telephone support center’s of large companies but in reverse: the automated voice that forces us to explain the reason for our call is now on our side and asks the caller to identify himself and explain the reason for the call.

On the computers where the system is available, when a call comes in addition to answer or hang up, the user will have a new button called “Call Screening”. Pressing this button, two things happen simultaneously: the caller will hear the voice of a robot informing that it is a voice assistant and urging to identify and explain the reason for the call.

In parallel, we will see in real time and on the mobile screen a transcript of this conversation, so that if the name of the person or the reason for the call is interesting, we can stop the filter and attend to this person. If not, we can choose to reject the call (imagine that it is a commercial call) in which case the assistant will politely apologize but reject the call; we can also indicate that we will return the call indicating this the assistant.

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The transcription of the call

Additionally, we can also press a button during the transcription asking if it is urgent and the virtual assistant will ask the question for us; we can also mark that number as spam in the event that we detect that it is an automated call or commercial. As you can see, the system removes the user from the first line of fire of having to answer a call and that already supposes a great added value, but that does not end there.

The Call Screening will keep a written transcript of what happened during a call that we can access by consulting the details of the call in the history of the device. For the most jealous of privacy, Google argues that everything happens on the phone and that no transcripts or conversations are stored on their servers. At the moment, the system will be available in the United States in the Pixel 3 of the house although later it will reach the previous versions of the end and Google has not yet confirmed when it will be available in other markets.

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