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Tech SoftBank AI makes angry customers sound calm

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Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
SoftBank Corp. has introduced a voice-altering AI technology aimed at reducing the stress call centre operators face from aggressive customers. This "emotion-canceling" innovation, conceived by employee Toshiyuki Nakatani, transforms irate voices into serene ones, potentially easing the psychological strain on staff. Initiated three years ago, the technology modifies voices during phone calls to shield employees from customer harassment. It offers a glimpse of hope for operators unless AI supersedes their roles entirely in the future.

"If the customers' yelling voice sounded like Kitaro's Eyeball Dad, it would be less scary," he said, referring to a character in the popular anime series "Gegege no Kitaro." The voice-altering AI learned many expressions, including yelling and accusatory tones, to improve vocal conversions. Ten actors were hired to perform more than 100 phrases with various emotions, training the AI with more than 10,000 pieces of voice data. The technology does not change the wording, but the pitch and inflection of the voice is softened. For instance, a woman's high-pitched voice is lowered in tone to sound less resonant. A man's bass tone, which may be frightening, is raised to a higher pitch to sound softer. However, if an operator cannot tell if a customer is angry, the operator may not be able to react properly, which could just upset the customer further. Therefore, the developers made sure that a slight element of anger remains audible.

I love that! If only this worked on TV, too. :)
They need to make it into a spray we could carry and use , LOL.

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