SoftBank plans to use AI to make angry customer calls sound gentler.

Call center workers might not have to deal with angry customers for too much longer.SoftBank plans on using AI to make angry calls sound less aggressive.The Japanese firm is seeking to turn a customer’s voice “into a calm conversational tone” with AI.

Complaints to call center workers are about to sound a lot less angry, and they have artificial intelligence to thank.

SoftBank Corp, the telecoms arm of the Japanese conglomerate led by billionaire Masayoshi Son, is apparently preparing to test AI software that softens the tone of furious callers in a bid to reduce the stress faced by customer service workers.

The company, one of Japan’s largest telecoms operators, said it’s seeking to test the technology both internally and externally with a view to commercialization in 2026, per comments first reported by Reuters.

“We are working on the development of a solution that can convert the customer’s voice into a calm conversational tone and deliver it to our workers using AI-enabled emotion recognition and voice processing technology,” SoftBank said.

“With this solution, we aim to maintain good relationships with customers through sound communication while ensuring the psychological welfare of our workers.”

The developments are likely to be welcomed news for call center workers. Since the release of ChatGPT, there has been rising fears a that AI could displace customer service jobs.

Those fears have escalated following the unveiling this week of OpenAI’s new model, GPT-4o. Thanks to its voice feature and ability to “reason across audio, vision, and text in real time,” GPT-4o offers more humanlike interactions with users.

But the prospect that AI could turn a shouty rant into a more serene interaction will reinforce the belief of those who believe AI is more likely to improve the lot of workers, rather than steal their jobs.

SoftBank, which is making a fresh effort to invest in AI initiatives, says on its website that it sees AI as a path to a “happier future for all.”

Call center workers will feel happier if they’re no longer on the wrong end of a rant.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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