This is one for the too messed up to be real but sadly is pile, via Slashdot:

SoftBank has developed AI voice-conversion technology aimed at reducing the psychological stress on call center operators by altering the voices of angry customers to sound calmer….

The technology does not change the wording, but the pitch and inflection of the voice is softened. For instance, a woman’s high-pitched voice is lowered in tone to sound less resonant. A man’s bass tone, which may be frightening, is raised to a higher pitch to sound softer.

According to the company, the biggest burdens on operators are hearing abusive language and being trapped in long conversations with customers who will not get off the line — such as when making persistent requests for apologies.

Obviously the next step will be to simply eliminate the human operators. And while I sympathize with the burden that support agents of all stripes carry, the more logical answer is making your service not suck so much, instead of simply shielding your human agents from having to handle the angry reactions of other humans who are angry because it sucks so much.

In fact, I think such a technology would likely impinge on the right to object – in jurisdictions that recognize related rights anyway. You might say well, they’re still objecting, they’re still being heard, after a fashion. But they’re not really. The object-y part of their objection is being stripped out, and buried. The human communication part, the expression of sentiment. Emotions are not something we should try to wipe out using technology because money.

It’s also only a matter of time before, I guess, police get to use this technology to avoid having to listen to the screams and pleas for help from the people they are “serving.”