Tech

The app that “erases” the Indian accent in call centers

Artificial intelligence is increasingly beginning to sound like a dystopia to us - it recognizes faces, voices, facial expressions and gestures, even, as Elon Musk claims about his robot - emotions and moods.

Now, a Silicon Valley startup called Sanas is taking the dystopia a step further and creating an artificial intelligence that turns accented English into smooth, accent-free speech.

The app targets call center employees who are often from countries such as Peru, Argentina, Brazil and most notably India.

The first tests of artificial intelligence were carried out precisely with Indians.

As shown on the Sanas website, users can “hear the magic” and see how the voice of an Indian in a call center sounds like the speech of a pure American.

The platform currently offers a demo version of its artificial intelligence, through which everyone can see how their speech sounds with and without Sanas.

In a demonstration to Motherboard, the startup’s CEO Massi Sarimand shows how he calls an employee in India and initially talks to him without the software. Then it switches to Sanas and the Indian starts sounding like an American.

It should be noted that the processed voice sounds quite mechanical and sounds like a machine dictating text, but still the speech is undeniably intelligible and accent-free. Sanas describes its AI as “accent matching” and emphasizes that its software is only intended to facilitate international companies.

“Our app increases understanding by 31% and customer experience by 21%,” the startup says.

From there, they also specify that, in addition to American, the artificial intelligence will also offer other accents, although for the moment only the demonstration with the Indian employee is available. The Sanas also believe that their creation will give more freedom to workers in international companies.

To date, the company has received $32 million in funding from those willing to invest in just such an application.

However, the year is 2022 and there is no way to pass without accusations of racism and discrimination. According to some, the conversion of accented voices to unaccented voices is an attempt to make Indians and other employees sound “whiter” than they actually are.

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