Science

New voice-changing artificial intelligence tech takes away accents from call center employees, wherever they are — Noufelle EN

A NEW emphasizing AI program has been rolled out to international customer service call centers.

Critics of the technology say that AI minimizes culture and identity, while call service agents argue that they are more comfortable talking on the phone.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, companies began outsourcing call centers to cut costs.

NPR has reported that companies are so dependent on India for their IT and customer support that it is referred to as the “global back office” in some circles.

Sanas is an artificial intelligence brand that is reinventing the offshore call center for companies primarily dealing with US and Western clients.

Their algorithm removes the linguistic information that the customer service agent is not American in real time, an incredible feat of high-speed AI.

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As a result, the caller is greeted by an operator who speaks as “white American” regardless of the agent’s actual intonation or accent.

“If this customer is upset because their bill is high, or their cable is down, or their phone is down, or whatever, they usually get upset as soon as they hear the accent,” Sanas chairman Marty told The Guardian. Massih Sarim. .

“They’ll say, ‘I want to talk to someone in America.’ »

“Call centers don’t route calls to America, so now most of those calls are handled by an agent. »

Call center agents equipped with Sanas technology can independently activate the voice modulator.

Sanas co-founder Sharat Keshava Narayana says that agents who apply the technology operate with a stronger sense of trust.

Although the technology was developed to improve the operator experience – Narayana was once a call center agent – some worry about cultural erasure.

“Like a lot of things that are touted as a solution, it takes no account of human dignity or humanity,” Chris Gilliard told The Guardian.

Gilliard is a scientist with experience in spotting subtle discrimination in technologies that need to be developed in an unbiased manner.

He said of the accent minimization technology, “It’s like trying to reduce everyone to a homogenized, mechanical voice that ignores all the beauty that comes from people’s languages, dialects and cultures. It’s really sad. »

Millions of SSI applicants will receive two payments of up to $1,682 next month.

Countdown to launch

The company has raised nearly $40 million in two funding rounds.

The next time you contact customer service, the voice you hear may not match the actual tone of the agent.

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