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How might an ‘emotion-canceling’ AI help call center workers?

Answer: By making angry customers sound less angry.

A robot working at a desk in an office surrounded by human coworkers.
In a bid to make working in a call center less stressful, Japanese telecom company and investment firm SoftBank is developing what it calls an “emotion-canceling” tool to make unhappy callers sound less upset. With a single click of a toggle button, those answering the phone in a call center will be able to make an emotional caller sound calmer.

SoftVoice is backed by artificial intelligence, which was trained on more than 10,000 pieces of voice data. It can recognize tones of an angry voice, like yelling and soften them. It does not remove the sound of anger completely, it just tones it down so that the person receiving the call isn’t overwhelmed.

“The solution is expected to help lighten the psychological load of call center operators and create a work environment where they can work safely to provide even better services to customers,” SoftBank said. The company hopes to begin selling the tool as soon as next year.