Startup uses AI to transform call center workers' accents into "white voice"

Have you seen the 2018 movie Sorry to Bother You? It's about a young black man who gets a job at a call center and has trouble making sales until he adopts a "white voice."

A new company called Sanas seems to have based its business plan on the movie. It has developed software that converts call center workers' accents into "standard American English." If you listen to Sanas' demo, it sounds remarkably like the white voice in Sorry to Bother You.

From SF Gate:

But there's a fundamental flaw with the tacit promises of Sanas, and the logic presented by Sarim — an angel investor with "more than 25 years of call center experience," according to his LinkedIn. Accents don't cause bias, they trigger pre-existing biases. That bigotry is supercharged by the power dynamics at play in the hellscape of modern customer service, where frustrated callers are trapped on the phone with agents who have little authority to solve their problems, and everyone is forced to interact exclusively through dehumanizing, uncanny valley scripts. It's all happening under the watchful eye of surveillance systems that put the average police state to shame.

And Sanas does little to remediate this hellscape; it merely puts a filter on it.