Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank recently announced a technological innovation that has been in development for three years: an “emotion cancellation” technology powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

This technology would be able to alter the voices of angry customers, making them sound calmer during phone calls with customer service representatives. The aim is to reduce the psychological impact on operators who frequently face harassment. The technology is expected to be available by March 2026.

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Technology uses advances in AI models

According to Japanese news site The Asahi Shimbun, SoftBank’s project uses an AI model to change the tone and pitch of a customer’s voice in real time during a call.

Led by Toshiyuki Nakatani, SoftBank developers trained the system with more than 10,000 voice samples from 10 Japanese actors. These actors expressed more than 100 phrases with different emotions, including tones of anger, shouting and accusations. The technology is made possible by significant advances in speech cloning and synthesis in recent years.

SoftBank’s AI model analyzes voice samples and learns to recognize and modify vocal characteristics associated with anger and hostility. When a customer speaks to a call center operator, the model processes the incoming audio and adjusts the tone and inflection of the voice so that it sounds calmer and less threatening.

It is important to highlight, however, that technology does not change the content or formulation of the customer’s speech. This way, the operator will be able to tell that he is angry. Additionally, the model monitors the length and content of the conversation, sending a warning message if it determines that the interaction is too long or abusive.

This technology is being developed through SoftBank’s internal program called “SoftBank Innoventure”, in conjunction with the Institute for AI and Beyond, a research institute established by the University of Tokyo.

Softbank wants to protect traders’ mental health

SoftBank wants to protect operators

The motivation behind this development is Japan’s growing problem of “kasu-hara,” or customer harassment. This happens when workers face aggressive behavior or unreasonable requests. In response, both the Japanese government and companies are exploring ways to protect employees from this abuse.

The idea of ​​technology also ended up raising some discussions, mainly about its effectiveness. Some critics argue that the technology only treats the symptoms of the problem, ignoring the underlying causes of customers’ anger, which are often legitimate.

A Reddit user compared the solution to the case of Apple factories in China, where nets were installed to prevent workers from committing suicide, instead of improving working conditions.

Fonte: arstechnica

Source: https://www.hardware.com.br/noticias/softbank-trabalha-em-ia-de-cancelamento-de-emocoes-que-muda-o-tom-de-raiva-na-voz-de-clientes.html

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