October 1, 2022

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discriminatory? The program changes the tone of people on the phone

A US startup wants to help people who are discriminated against because of their accent. To do this, you develop a program that changes the voice on the phone. However, critics accuse the company of promoting racism.

A Silicon Valley startup has developed software that changes people’s dialects on the phone. As a result, according to the company Sanas According to the BBCIf you want to confront racism and discrimination. The technology changes the voice in real time and is used by call center staff.

However, critics accuse the company of having the opposite effect. news portal svgat Sanas accuses the employees, who come mainly from the Global South, of being supposed to “show white” through the programme. The startup itself, which the BBC says has been funded with $32 million since June 2022, describes its technology as a “dialect translation tool” – dialect translation software.

A demo can be found on the company’s website under the slogan “Hear the Magic”. It features someone with a distinct South Asian accent, and the show is meant to sound American. SFGATE claims Sanas uses them to make call center workers look “white and American, no matter what country they’re from.”

The startup rejects the allegations

Co-founder Charath Keshava Narayana denied the allegations to the BBC. The four founders are all immigrants, and the same is true for 90 percent of Sanas employees. According to Narayana, the idea for the program came about through the traumatic experience of a friend from Nicaragua.

He was fired after three months in the call center because of his accent and the discrimination he caused. Narayana, who himself worked in the call center, also noticed this from his colleagues – they were mistreated for their accent, he says. The goal of the program is to prevent this. Ashley Ainsley, co-founder of Color in Tech, disagrees. He told the BBC: “Should we also change people’s skin color because it upsets some racists?”

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