It was a little over a year ago when Google, during their on-stage tech demonstration, showed off their A.I. booking service, called Duplex. You tell Google Duplex to make reservations at a restaurant, and with a single command its artificial intelligence system makes the reservation on your behalf by actually calling the restaurant.
However, on May 22, Google announced that some of the reservation requests issued by Duplex users are actually made by humans. This means that instead of talking to a robot, some restaurants will pick up the phone and talk to a real person.
Google reportedly said that roughly 25 percent of calls placed through Duplex begin with a human, and that additionally, about 15 percent of those that began with an automated system have had a human intervene at some point.
So why, with its A.I. technology, would Google do such a thing?
In an interview with the New York Times, the company said that it wants to "treat businesses with respect."
In a world of evolving tech, this veteran move by Google is a smart one, and one all business owners should pay attention to. Here's why:
Don't disrupt at all costs.
Uber made several mistakes when launching and scaling the company. Many of the mistakes had to do with how they treated their drivers, customers, and even their employees. This drove a lot of resentment and a ton of bad PR.
Google, knowing this, took the extra step of hiring human intervention as a sign of respect to the restaurants, even though the restaurants don't have to opt-in or pay for the service. Having this type of manual intervention costs a lot more money for Google to operate, but it's already paying off in dividends.
Instead of headlines like "Google Duplex Wastes Restaurants' Time and Doesn't Even Work," they are getting headlines that discuss the safety precautions being taken with implementing this new tech. It seems like an obvious move in hindsight, but I really believe this move by Google is a sign for many entrepreneurs that thinking about the impact of what you're building on your users is the No. 1 priority.
New technology adoption requires long-term thinking.
Google knew its on-stage demo would get a lot of attention, and it sure did. It also knows that this technology is the start of something big once it expands out of restaurant reservations only.
So, instead of "moving fast and breaking things," which used to be Facebook's mantra, they are behind thoughtful and thinking longer term. They are still collecting data, understanding how phone call reservations are actually made, and iterating on the technology. They are spending the time to get it right, and that's absolutely the best move.
I made the mistake of short-term thinking several times as an entrepreneur. Every minute counted for me, and I pressured myself to "just ship it" and not think about the long-term consequences. It caused a lot of people to unsubscribe from my email lists and ask for thousands of dollars of refunds, and it damaged a brand it took me a long, long time to build.
Now, I still don't waste time to ship things, but I'm much more thoughtful in how I do it. I ship one service or feature at a time, and I make sure it's getting the right feedback.
Instead of being disappointed that Google isn't using 100 percent A.I. to make the phone calls, you should instead understand the reasoning behind this great decision. Not only will it help you see how to run your business better, it will also teach you to slow down as a leader instead of racing to beat everyone, which can result in rash decisions.