AI Softens Screaming Customer Voices

Japanese tech giant SoftBank Corp has introduced an innovative AI-powered voice-altering technology to combat customer harassment in call centers. Named “emotion canceling,” the system transforms angry callers’ voices into calmer tones to reduce stress for call center operators.

SoftBank’s AI-enabled technology recognizes and processes the emotional characteristics of a caller’s voice, then adjusts the intonation to a less aggressive tone while retaining the caller’s words. The AI was trained with over 10,000 voice samples to ensure natural-sounding modifications.

This development was inspired by the prevalent issue of verbal abuse in call centers, highlighted by a television program. Toshiyuki Nakatani from SoftBank spearheaded the creation of this protective solution. The technology, which currently only supports Japanese, may expand to other languages for international markets. It is set to be available by April next year, with pricing yet to be determined.

The initiative is timely, as Japan faces increasing customer harassment in the service industry. A survey by UA Zensen revealed that nearly 47% of service workers experienced harassment, with over 100 seeking psychiatric help. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is also introducing measures to ban abusive customer behavior.

SoftBank’s technology aims to foster positive customer interactions and ensure the psychological well-being of call center staff amidst rising consumer stress and demands.