Robocallers and AI Voices of the Future

Ever got a call that you attended so eagerly but turned out to be a voice recording advertising a product or service? Well, that is the voice of the future, the Artificial Intelligence(AI) powered Robocallers. These robocalls have been on the rise in the recent past. Such calls are usually answered by automated dialling machines that are programmed in such a way that it plays a preprogrammed message when we answer the call. This creative technique is however considered to be medieval in comparison to the latest robocalls. With the help of the present-day AI technologies, these robot voices could easily be disguised as a human voice by simple technologies called the voice-mimicking AIs. Though such technologies have amazed the people and struck most of us with awe, it certainly has raised the doubts of many others. Humans seem to doubt the abilities of the AI voice technology to successfully complete the tasks as efficiently as we would do it. There is hesitancy in accepting that a mere software will be able to handle human-like conversations on its own.

Conversation AI and the fear of Spoofing:

Conversation AI provides us with the chance to automate our mundane responsibilities and make life a little easier. Such technologies are now not only programmed to answer calls for a company but also trained to make calls for making hotel reservations too. With the advanced voice technologies, the AI helps in pre-programing tones of a person and also feeding in a framed replies for obvious questions which makes it sound like a real-life human having a regular conversation. However, the uncertainty of letting an inhuman object to make calls for them somehow still lingers in the minds of the people.

Spoofing, the increasingly common robocall in recent times is when a scammer calls from a voice-over-IP service by entering a host number that the receiver would easily recognize. This host number could be entered through a VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) service and the number could be made to appear like it is from a cell phone or landline. The process is so simple that even a rookie hacker could ace the scam. With the large scale data breaches that exposed the personal details of almost everyone in the world, finding the mobile number, addresses, etc. in a single click. The information could also be used to impersonate a person close to you using the voice technology and get you to fall for the scam more easily. The scams in such cases are usually claiming that you owe the government some money, won a free lottery or directly hit the jackpot by asking the account details and pin posing as the bank authorities themselves.

Protecting ourselves from the scam:

The problem with such scam callers is that they do not get the consent of the person they call. It is quite annoying at times as it is very difficult to distinguish between a legitimate robocall and scammers. Not all robocalls are scams either. It could be an automated call from the bank cautioning its customers about some fraud or maybe the government has a warning or precaution for its citizens. Stir/shaken is one method of attaching certificates to each call (more like an encryption key) to identify spoof robocalls. These tagged calls then pass through a carrier which scans if any two calls have matching certificates. However, this technique has a lot of drawbacks.

Though it may be old school the most effective method to protect ourselves from such spoofs is to simply avoid attending such calls that you are not sure who might be calling. Better yet, there is always the option of installing apps like YouMail, Truecaller, etc. to be aware of the caller IDs that have been marked as scammers by others.

Future of AI voice technologies:

AI has already been introduced in call centres, automating almost 90% of the process of handling a customer. It is not far from making the entire process automated and letting machines answer the grievances. In the future, it could even be expected to see the collaboration of AI-powered technologies and military equipment. The military strength that is now determined based on the arms and ammunition would be determined based on their AI software and AI-powered machines. In the times to come, the now uncertain AI technologies would become a part of our daily routines and humans would grow used to the indifference. All activities will proceed unnoticed and will continue without the interference of humans until there is a glitch. With ample training by the user, these conversation AIs could be better at making decisions than any human in the same circumstances.

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