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System Recognizes Emotions In People's Voices

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the what's-wrong-dave? dept.

AI 127

cylonlover writes "Automated telephone services may get slightly less annoying thanks to research being carried out at Spain's Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Universidad de Granada. A team of scientists from those institutions has created a computer system that is able to recognize the emotional state of a person speaking to it, so that it can alter its behavior to make things less stressful."

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127 comments

Trolling (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154786)

That could become the ultimate trolling device!

Re:Trolling (4, Funny)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155092)

Do you understand the motherfucking words that are coming out of my motherfucking mouth bitch?

emotional state: JOY +3

Re:Trolling (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155310)

Recognize emotion, select inappropriate but still plausibly serious response? Sounds evil.

Electronic Sociopath (3, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155878)

Mimicking the response of understanding, to manipulate other's behavior.

You are in a twisty little maze of voice options, all alike.

other applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38156452)

And the new best actor Oscar goes to...

Re:Trolling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38156538)

U mad?

Or you could lower the stress from the start (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154798)

Why not start out with the less stressful option, just saying...

Don't force us to use the phone in the first place (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154900)

Given the widespread availability of the Internet, the telephone is really quite a useless device now, especially for business purposes.

When dealing with any business or institution, it is often much easier and much more effective to use a web app of some sort. These kind of apps work perfectly fine for most people, and they avoid a lot of the confusion and annoyance that can happen when having to use a telephone-based system. In the remote chance that the user needs to deal with a live person in realtime, there are many chat systems available that work just fine.

Spoken communication is a relic of the past. It is usually no faster than using a web app or other written communication, and most of the time is much slower and much more prone to inaccuracies creeping in. In the vast majority of cases, the phone shouldn't even be an option. If it is, it should merely be the last resort.

Re:Don't force us to use the phone in the first pl (5, Insightful)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155052)

Given the widespread availability of the Internet, the telephone is really quite a useless device now, especially for business purposes.

When dealing with any business or institution, it is often much easier and much more effective to use a web app of some sort. These kind of apps work perfectly fine for most people, and they avoid a lot of the confusion and annoyance that can happen when having to use a telephone-based system. In the remote chance that the user needs to deal with a live person in realtime, there are many chat systems available that work just fine.

Spoken communication is a relic of the past. It is usually no faster than using a web app or other written communication, and most of the time is much slower and much more prone to inaccuracies creeping in. In the vast majority of cases, the phone shouldn't even be an option. If it is, it should merely be the last resort.

If that were accurate, those giant call centers that companies employ in addition to their websites would go largely unused. Turns out, lots of folks prefer to talk to someone. Just because you don't does not mean that it's a "relic of the past". While I like to do business on the web, I will most definitely avoid shopping with a company if I can't find telephone contact information easily. Web stuff works great when things are going smoothly, but typically the moment you have a hiccup in the standard process, you need to get someone on the phone to fix it. IVRU's are just a way to waste your time while waiting to be helped, so I see this effort as a mostly empty gesture. As GP said, why not start out with the less stressful option in the first place.

Re:Don't force us to use the phone in the first pl (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155264)

I intentionally do business with companies that don't employ long, painful, circular IVR. I simply won't do business with a site that doesn't have a phone number.

As you said, the web is great if you're trying to buy something. Beyond that, web interaction is mostly garbage. Many companies don't provide direct email support anymore. If they do, it usually takes 3 days to hear back because email is a nice... leisurely... game... of... ping... pong... that... they... answer... when... it's... convenient... for... them.

Those horrible IVR's are used to deflect you back to the web. Not because their web resources are better than their people, but because humans on the phone are an expensive and time consuming resource they don't want you to use.

So it really is a place to separate yourself from the rest. If I call your number and actually get a person that can fix problems, you're head and shoulders above your competition.

Re:Don't force us to use the phone in the first pl (3, Insightful)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155164)

yes, because all official websites are well designed, and provide many options outside the normal list that can tailor to the needs of every single user.

sometimes a second brain is needed in a transaction.

Re:Don't force us to use the phone in the first pl (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156496)

Or another brain is wasted explaining something for the fifteenth goddamn time. What we need is an IVR that can detect intelligence, to screen calls, and send the idiot callers to have their explanations performed by the lowest wage brains. "If you haven't been listening to options 1-9, press 10". Seriously, dignity of human interaction is sometimes overrated when it involves angry callers insisting on the irrational, at least from the service providers perspective.

Re:Don't force us to use the phone in the first pl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155240)

Wow. That's just sad.

Spoken communication will always be superior simply because there is no unfeeling lcd screen between you and your communication of your problem. I pity you, who would rather push buttons than communicate with another human being.

Re:Don't force us to use the phone in the first pl (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156920)

Morse code rubbing on another person's body will always be superior simply because there is no unfeeling air between you and your communication of your problem. I pity you, who would rather talk to people than risk sexual harassment lawsuits in the pursuit of more personal communication.

Re:Or you could lower the stress from the start (2)

leaen (987954) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156514)

We should write speech recognition software to deal with those IVR

Or not... (5, Funny)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154802)

Caller: Oh it's another damn machine.
IVR: Do not take that tone, please, sir or madam.
Caller: WHAT tone?
IVR: Please remain calm, and speak clearly.
Caller: I AM CALM, DAMN IT!!!

Re:Or not... (4, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155090)

My favorite:

"For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve your life, please press 3."

Re:Or not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155506)

"For English, please press 2"

Re:Or not... (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38157316)

I'd be happier if they let me choose the on-hold music!

Continuing the whistle the tune (badly) after a human finally picks up the call is my favourite.

Re:Or not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155226)

Sounds like me dealing with onstar.

Me: I SAID MOTHERFUCKING DIAL BITCH NOT HELP!@#!@#!@# (While red faced with veins popping out of my forehead)
Old Lady Driving In Next Lane: Oh my dear lord, he's having a stroke!

i'm afraid i can't let you do that dave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38156206)

i'm afraid i can't let you do that dave...

I see you are feeling stressed... (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154824)

Please listen to the following staticy Muzak while you calm down. Your call is important to us!

Re:I see you are feeling stressed... (2)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156568)

Your call is important to us!

Please wait while we ignore it!...

even easier (5, Insightful)

erase (3048) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154838)

just have the system scan for curse words. easier than detecting emotion, and probably more accurate to determine when people are hating the IVR.

Re:even easier (2)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155258)

For some people. On the other hand, my brother-in-law uses the word 'fucking' the same way most people use the word 'um'.

Re:even easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155524)

Are there really very many people who swear at IVR systems? Personally I wouldn't want to hurt the robot's feelings.

Re:even easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155964)

just have the system scan for curse words. easier than detecting emotion, and probably more accurate to determine when people are hating the IVR.

Your way is still fairly complicated. I propose the following:

sub arePeopleHatingTheIVR {
        return 1;
}

Re:even easier (4, Interesting)

dissy (172727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156396)

just have the system scan for curse words. easier than detecting emotion, and probably more accurate to determine when people are hating the IVR.

You would be shocked at the number of IVR systems that currently do this.
"Fuck" is the new "mash zero"

At least the ones I am forced to use on a regular basis most seem to support swear words as valid options. Or at least "fuck" and "shit", haven't tried any others.
On the non-regular calls I only try this trick when my intent is to trigger "Press zero to speak with a representative", seems to be roughly 50% success rate in my semi-limited experiences.

The only system I can think of that did not support it was my last bank. However their system couldn't be interrupted with menu presses, so you had to wait until it was finished speaking or it would ignore touch tones. Also hitting zero did not take you to a human, but back to the main menu to start over.
I'm pretty sure they purposely designed it to make you scream "fuck!" a lot and that was listed in the design requirements specified by the customer :P

In closing, hey Huntington if you're listening, you suck balls.
For everyone else, give it a try next you need to press zero anyway. If nothing else, it's pretty amusing.

Dave... (3, Funny)

headkase (533448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154846)

Source [imdb.com] : HAL: Look Dave, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.

Re:Dave... (4, Funny)

ysth (1368415) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154984)

I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.

Another fine product... (4, Funny)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154848)

... from the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

My superior algorithm: (4, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154864)

If (person_calling)
connect_to(actual_human);

Re:My superior algorithm: (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154910)

If (person_calling)
connect_to(actual_human);

I usually hit 0 repeatedly until I get forwarded to a human. It's surprisingly effective.
Staying silent also works more often than not.

Re:My superior algorithm: (3, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154950)

Not on many of the systems I encounter. It is so typical to have a poorly designed menu that does NOT offer choices that match why I am calling. When no choice is valid and I resort to "0":

"Sorry, that is not a valid option"

And then it repeats the 30 seconds worth of choices yet again. I have also had systems hang up on me after not answering the way they want.

And of course the wonderful systems that ask for all kinds of information and then you FINALLY get a human and they ask for all the same damn information AGAIN.

Re:My superior algorithm: (2)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154976)

And of course the wonderful systems that ask for all kinds of information and then you FINALLY get a human and they ask for all the same damn information AGAIN.

Yeah, I've tried saying that I just entered the info, and they say, "sorry".

There's a special place in Hell reserved for the guy who invented IVR menus.

Re:My superior algorithm: (5, Informative)

tisepti (1488837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155146)

Try gethuman.com. It doesn't always have the company you need to call listed but has helped me deal with companies that ... forget to make sure yo have an easy way to get though the menu.

Re:My superior algorithm: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155208)

Thank you so much!

Re:My superior algorithm: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155334)

Use the # sign instead. It's frequently used as an "end input" marker, and some IVR programmers forget to check for non-numerics.

Re:My superior algorithm: (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155402)

Just press the button that's for buying something and a real person will appear almost instantaneously.

Re:My superior algorithm: (1)

wdef (1050680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156480)

Just press the button that's for buying something and a real person will appear almost instantaneously.

And the salesperson will throw you back onto the maddening automated menu as they (1) put you on hold to enjoy the soul destroying muzac for 30 mins; then (2) helpfully re-direct you back to the place that either didn't exit or didn't respond in the first place.

These systems only have one aim: to stop you talking to people.

Re:My superior algorithm: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155454)

Worse still are the voice recognition systems where you don't even know if your query is one of the available options. At least with "press x" you can map the system and usually find a way to a human in the end... we voice recog your just shooting blind.

Re:My superior algorithm: (1)

wdef (1050680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156462)

Please mod parent up.

Re:My superior algorithm: (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154952)

Effective, but annoying. That is why my algorithm is so awesome. It removes said annoyance completely ;-)

Re:My superior algorithm: (2)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155174)

My favorite was the IVR at a certain cable ISP:

IVR: "First, let's see if we can diagnose your Internet connection".
Me: "Representative".
IVR: "Okay, I can definitely get someone on the line for you, but first..."
Me: "Representative".
IVR: (in a slightly defeated tone) "Alright, please hold while I get someone on the line for you".

Re:My superior algorithm: (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155214)

Sounds like Charter. I made the mistake of following their troubleshooting robot because I figured that the tech would be aware that I had done the necessary. When I got on the phone with a live human, they proceeded to run me through the exact same script as the robot so it was a complete waste of 20 minutes.

Re:My superior algorithm: (4, Insightful)

Paul Slocum (598127) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155370)

I think it's more like:

if( person_calling_wants_to_pay_more )
connect_to( actual_human );
else
connect_to( cheap_automated_call_system )

Re:My superior algorithm: (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155924)

Absolutely! Not in cases where it can not apply, of course, but anywhere where there is a commercial interest and any way to use this tech to manipulate the customer, they'll do whatever they can to do just that.

Re:My superior algorithm: (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156164)

of even better:

connect_to( web_site_with_same_functions )

There should be no need to use a phone in 95% of cases, but for some reason many companies seem desperate to make everyone call them. Maybe they are lonely and just need some human contact... Oh, wait...

Re:My superior algorithm: (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156482)

Call the sales number. Sales lines are always well staffed.

best way to reduce stress (4, Insightful)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154866)

have a competent human answer the fucking phone.

Re:best way to reduce stress (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154886)

Couldn't have said it better. If the system can respond by making it less stressful for the caller, why not start out at the least stressful configuration to begin with? What possible motivation could they have for it not being less stressful from the start?

Re:best way to reduce stress (2)

_merlin (160982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155034)

Trouble is, competence is not as common as you might like, and a competent person would probably get bored being a phone monkey, and move on to bigger, better things. The pay and work of answering support calls means less competent people will accumulate there.

Re:best way to reduce stress (2)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155076)

they merely need to be competent enough. behind them are other competent people looking for a job. They move on, they get replaced. by other competent people. And they don't have to be geniuses - they only have to be competent enough to answer your questions.

Counter intuitive... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155218)

They put you through to someone who is obviously intellectually challenged but who can actually help you so you calm your *ss down and walk him through a typical user help desk session.

If you're dealing with someone who obviously is a doofus but a helpful doofus, you'd be surprised at how cooperative you get.

Re:best way to reduce stress (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155316)

have a competent human answer the fucking phone.

Hello. This is Simon BOFH. How may I be of assistance?

Re:best way to reduce stress (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156678)

A competent human will never work in a call center.

Old news (4, Interesting)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154892)

Is this one of those "On this day in history..." stories? Because analyzing caller voice patterns for stress has been SOP for the big boys for years. A pretty common way to get out of the voice prompts and to a person who will likely be competent enough to help you is to swear profusely at the voice recognition system. You'll then often be passed to a senior CSR who can get shit done. The catch is that they're authorized to hang up on you more quickly than a regular rep if you continue to swear once they're on the line.

I guess the news here is that the existing technology is being used to present automated scripts tailored to the individual caller.

Re:Old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154964)

Something tells me this is a joke.

Re:Old news (5, Funny)

blunttrauma (601130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154980)

I was trying to call Comcast once because the evidently cancelled my automatic billing and were now going to disconnect my internet service. When I called and the automated menu hell prompts started, I said "billing" The system replied "Sorry, I didn't get that" I let out an exasperated "Fuck". The system responded "I understand you want to talk to Billing, if this is correct, press 1" Pretty damn cool.

Re:Old news (2)

JohnSearle (923936) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155064)

I'm awaiting the day that they turn these devices towards the reps themselves.

Big brother could be monitoring every call and alerting supervisors real-time when the reps step out of line. Could make the job that much better.

Man, I really miss working for Satan- *cough* I mean Sprint

Re:Old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38156904)

This is a feature that we already offer in our call center software - and it works quite well. Allows supervisors to key off of certain words that reps and/or customers are expected to say, or not expected to say, and displays a real time score for each side of the conversation.

Re:Old news (4, Interesting)

anglico (1232406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155070)

I agree, the first time I used Fed Ex's menu for a sample return I got frustrated and 'growled' in frustration and it automatically connected me to someone who could understand why I didn't have an account number and what I needed. Of course the next few times I called I waited (just in case they added that option) and when I didn't get that option, I did the same thing, and luckily it worked.

Re:Old news (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156494)

That's it, I'm having George Carlin's "Seven Words" up on YouTube before I call any Tech Support number from now on.

Re:Old news (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38157156)

Stress or anger detection is a common feature in voice-response systems. It can either elevate you like that or advance you faster in the queue. I think it only works reliably in english systems, so it might be detection of certain words. Maybe try to articulate curses to the system, or be angry in french and see if it works.

MERDE!

Easier solution (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154906)

How about just using the low-stress behavior ALL the time?

Re:Easier solution (3, Insightful)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155870)

There was some similar story a while back about how technology like this could be used at 911, to assert whether the person calling was in an emergency.

I would hate that, since I've noticed that while I'm a bit of a nervous person generally, when I've been in serious situations, like cutting myself badly and blood starting to gush out or being held at knife point, an unusual calm has descended upon me.

Re:Easier solution (1)

Sky Cry (872584) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155918)

I wish that worked with my girlfriend.

Re:Easier solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155920)

And having all the fun lost?

Adjusts its behaviour to be less stressful (2)

Sgs-Cruz (526085) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154936)

Why not, I don't know, just run the "don't stress out the human" program from the beginning? Why wait until they're already pissed off?

Re:Adjusts its behaviour to be less stressful (3, Insightful)

ysth (1368415) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154994)

Because "don't stress out the human" might be actually really unhelpful stuff like slowing down speech, presenting fewer options at a time, or even fewer options at all.

Don't they already have this? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154988)

Every time i call Charter Communications to talk about bogus charges that have been added to my bill, it's like they know automatically how pissed off i am.
The past couple times i hardly have to say anything other than "fuck" and they immediately transfer me over.

"Press 0 if it's relating to a new plan. Press 1 if it's..."

Fuck!

"We'll transfer you over to a representative."

It took longer than 2 years, apparently (1)

cloudmaster (10662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155014)

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/04/02/10/1514248/curse-your-way-to-live-support [slashdot.org]

In the article, the researcher thought they'd have something done in around two years. This seems to be a different institution, but I guess it's nice that someone seems to have finally gotten it working.

Re:It took longer than 2 years, apparently (2)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38157000)

Tourettes, finally useful!

Fuck. (1)

maeka (518272) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155016)

First the machines were better than me at math.
Now the machines are better than me at emotions?

Actually, take that back. The VAX I used in college was probably better at reading emotion than me.

This took research? (2)

jmaddington (2459974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155022)

Talking to the disembodied voice: Not happy. Talking to a person who can help me: Happy.

Might come in handy... (3, Funny)

Fished (574624) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155044)

Computer: "Sears tool desk, can I HELP you?"
Me: "Operator."
Computer: "I'm sorry, I didn't understand that. Did you say, screwdrivers?"
Me: "Salesman"
Computer: "I'm sorry, I didn't understand that. Did you say, salepaper?"
Me: "Cashier."
Computer: "I'm sorry, I didn't understand that. Did you say, chainsaw?"
Me: "NOW I want a chainsaw! I'm coming down there and #!*(%$!*%^(!"
Computer: "I understood that! Calling 911."

Alter its behavior? (4, Insightful)

mrquagmire (2326560) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155126)

Unless someone can make voice recognition actually works no amount of behavior altering is going to help. Maybe it's just me, but it doesn't seem like voice recognition software has come a whole lot farther than where it was when I first started playing with it over a decade ago.

Re:Alter its behavior? (1)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155188)

These days, I think it works quite well when the vocabulary is very small (i.e, phone systems). It does depend on your voice and your phone, of course. As a general dictation tool, no, voice recolonization doesn't work worth a damn,

Re:Alter its behavior? (2)

hawk (1151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155254)

Well, then.

*You* obviously didn't buy a 4s.

I'm just plain stunned by how it consistently get almost everything correct (even if Siri can't parse it)

hawk

Re:Alter its behavior? (2)

mrquagmire (2326560) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155446)

No I didn't. But I do have to listen to a guy who sits by me at work talk to his 4S over and over while getting increasingly frustrated. And no, he doesn't have an accent.

Already being done.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155196)

I believe these guys are already doing this..... www.emotico.co

Mandatory recognition (2)

hawk (1151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155204)

Simply by recognizing a few words, this can be improved.

In particular "damnit" should be recognized.

"I said" is another tipoff.

but damnit is the biggie . . .
hawk

Re:Mandatory recognition (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155734)

It'd drive Jack Bauer nuts, and you don't want to do that.

automation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155298)

I get no respect - I'm getting too old. I called suicide prevention line and I got put on hold.

And what good will this do? (1)

Vrtigo1 (1303147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155442)

They already have the technology to help people when they get frustrated, it's called not making you jump through 10 different IVR menus to get to a live person.

Mental ease. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155458)

A team of scientists from those institutions has created a computer system that is able to recognize the emotional state of a person speaking to it, so that it can alter its behavior to make things less stressful.

Following is the IVR(Interactive Voice Response)AKA Digital Phone menu for The State Mental Hospital Would you dare to call this mental hospital after you read/hear the phone options :) i doubt.

Hello and thank you for calling The State Mental Hospital.

Please select from the following options menu:

If you are obsessive-compulsive, press 1 repeatedly.

If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2 for you.

If you have multiple personalities, press 3, 4, 5 and 6.

If you are paranoid, we know who you are and what you want, stay on the line so we can trace your call.

If you are delusional, press 7 and your call will be forwarded to the Mother Ship.

If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a little voice will tell you which number to press.

If you are manic-depressive, it doesn’t matter which number you press, nothing will make you happy anyway.

If you are dyslexic, press 9696969696969696.

If you are bipolar, please leave a message after the beep or before the beep or after the beep. Please wait for the beep.

If you have short-term memory loss, press 9. If you have short-term memory loss, press 9. If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.

If you have low self-esteem, please hang up our operators are too busy to talk with you.

If you are menopausal, put the gun down, hang up, turn on the fan, lie down and cry. You won’t be crazy forever.

If you are blonde, don’t press any buttons, you’ll just mess it up.

Old news (3, Interesting)

t00le (136364) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155512)

Real time speech analytics for call centers has existed for seven years. The better products came out of Israel, at least the first and second generation IP Telephony capable systems. Inflection based triggers have existed in traditional TDM systems for over twelve years, so not real sure why this specific article is so intriguing. Just about any high end inbound call center will use some form of inflection and emotion algorithmic processing, more so once you get into the arm pit of finance, collections.

The systems I manage process over 500 million calls per month, across multiple industries and pbx vendors. The majority of the volume is processed using Cisco and Interactive Intelligence products, with an assortment of one off custom solutions. Of that 500 million calls per month, over 30% of the calls have used some form of inflection and emotional detection within the last eight years.

*yawn* another slow news day?

Yeah, but ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155616)

Can it detect when I want to use numbers instead of speaking menu choices? I don't like standing around in public going, "service ... operator ... billing," and I really don't want to speak my credit card info in a public place. I'd rather just push buttons.

Why don't be just nice (0)

mmontuori (2508452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155676)

Why the system cannot be nice all the time, what kind of reacting is it going to have. I don't think this is a good idea. Why don't hire people to talk to people? http://wew.montuori.net/ [montuori.net]

More likely: (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155682)

They'll have the automated system scold you for your poor attitude and abusive language when you get frustrated with it, and it'll disconnect you. Also, in the soon-to-come full-on authoritarian police state we'll be living in, it'll automatically report you to the local police department, who will come and arrest you for your antisocial behaviour.

These are already being used. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155696)

I cannot name a specific company, but I experimented with the phone system enough to know that if you curse 3 times on one, and raise your voice on the other, they will get you to a customer service agent quicker. Get in the habit of doing it and most companies will adopt it.

Sales-drones (1)

peetgr (2515754) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155744)

I can just see a sales-drone wired to a chair, getting peeved off and shouting at the consumer on the other side (has happened to me) and getting electrocuted for his efforts. That's now - if they use this system to monitor their sales-drones.

ns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155844)

Sorry, "A mechanical apparatus to apply vaseline as needed" has already been patented.

Someday (2)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155956)

They will be better than humans. They will know more, speak many languages, understand a huge range of contextual references, always be current, never act in a way that makes them seem rude, and even be charming. Most real humans will greatly prefer talking to them than to other humans. I'm not sure when, but some of us will live long enough to see it.

Re:Someday (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156500)

I cannot detect whether or not you are being sarcastic.

Re:Someday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38157764)

Hey, the 1990's called, they want their ridiculous AT&T "someday, you will" commercial back.

Old hat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38156270)

My bank has been using a system like this for 5 years. I was offered two different services which did this while working for a large insurance company.
A quick google for voice stress analysis brings up tons of links.

Hope they get their funding though eh?..

I never think there will be a time (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 2 years ago | (#38157102)

where the emotion recognition system will say the caller hinted..

"FUCK YOU"

because this is very sophisticated software.

Faux progress (1)

levicivita (1487751) | more than 2 years ago | (#38157700)

The voice recognition systems employed on the typical automated phone service are horrendous. This quickly leads to frustration.

"Q: Would you like to: pay your bill, check your balance...
A: Pay my bill.
Q: Sorry I did not get that. Would you like to: pay your bill, ...
A: Pay my bill!
A:Sorry, I still did not get that. Let's try something else. Please enter your 27 digit personal code followed by your social security and take a few minutes commenting on modern issues in Middle East politics.
A: #$%^&*( &^ %$% ^&* &^% $# $%^&


Having a 'system' that detects if your voice is getting louder, i.e. more pissed off, is not the answer. The answer is to improve the actual voice recognition algorithms, if possible.
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