Call center employees are required to be proficient in Urdu as well as English. A multitude of people in Pakistan struggle to speak proper English with a correct accent since there is a severe lack of reliable spoken English education in the country. But this new AI tool should make it easier for a lot of people.
A new startup has launched an AI tool that will make call center employees sound American to boost non-native English speakers’ well-being. This should make these employees easier to understand, especially those that struggle to speak proper English.
This AI tool comes from a company called Sanas, which has been working on the project since 2020. This software alters users’ voices and “Westernises” them. A report from The Guardian says that “Sanas’ AI engine can transform a speaker’s accent into what passes for another one”.
However, critics have argued that this tool could prove to be counterproductive. While it will make communication easier, it has its own psychological and ethical implications.
Popular Science reported that this could devalue the individuality of non-native speakers and it does not help solve any deep-rooted social issues. Privacy and surveillance researcher Chris Gilliard said that such a tool would destroy the beauty of the diversity of voice and accents. He said that it would lead to the “erasure of people as individuals”.
However, it is also true that a lot of people struggle to understand accented English around the globe, so it is undoubtedly going to improve communication for call centers.
One of the founders of the company has worked with an Indian call center before and that is likely the reason why the company claims to “deepen empathy”. Co-founder Sharath Keshava Narayana says that more than 1,000 call centers in India are already using this AI tool.