Voice Recognition in Our AI Future

Shawn Clybor, Ph.D.
3 min readMay 27, 2024

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Image generated using Chat GPT 4o on May 27, 2024

Introduction

Artificial Intelligence is rapidly transforming our world. According to a recent report by McKinsey & Company, AI could create $13 trillion USD in economic value by 2030. This impact spans across finance, healthcare, and customer service, often in unexpected ways.

Voice recognition software, also known as voice biometrics, is a key area where AI will make significant strides, especially for identity verification during phone interactions. If you haven’t been notified yet that your voice is being recorded for future verification processes, you will soon. This advancement promises to streamline the customer service experience and enhance user security. But that’s only the beginning.

In this post, I’ll explore how AI-driven voice biometrics will be used for identity verification, and the potential evolution of this technology over the next 3–5 years.

AI-Driven Voice Biometrics

Let’s be honest, dealing with customer service over the phone can be a… frustrating experience. Endless hold times, confusing menus, and the constant need to repeat information can test even the most patient among us. AI-driven voice recognition software can alleviate some of these frustrations by streamlining the verification process. Imagine no longer needing to share your account number, the last four digits of your social security number, your mother’s maiden name, or your favorite pizza topping.

(At the risk of compromising my security, my favorite pizza topping is pineapple. Come at me, haters.)

Future Prospects

Eliminating the need for account verification is just the beginning. AI could easily detect emotional states from our voice tones and adapt its responses accordingly. And if you sound stressed or angry (for example, about someone putting pineapple on pizza), the system might route you to a more empathetic representative or a specialist trained in de-escalation. Think of it as AI-driven personality matching.

With large language models like ChatGPT, voice biometrics technologies will soon integrate with conversational AI assistants, or chatbots. If you’d prefer to not spend hours listening to awful music while you sit on hold as an agent transfers you to yet another department, imagine all the issues that can be resolved instantaneously once a chatbot has the ability to confirm your identity with AI-driven voice recognition. As a recent Forbes article notes, when chatbots have access to order information, case details, and customer preferences, they’ll be able to open new service cases, cancel orders, troubleshoot issues, and complete many other transactions on our behalf.

On the other hand…

It’s important to acknowledge that implementing advanced AI systems, such as voice biometrics requires substantial investment in infrastructure, training, and continuous updates. Many organizations, especially smaller ones, may find it difficult to keep up with these demands. Additionally, while this post highlights AI’s benefits, it overlooks the adverse effects on employment and economic inequality. Thanks to globalization, many call centers are located in developing countries like India, where tens of thousands of jobs will be eliminated. And the less we say about unemployed call-on-hold musicians the better.

Finally, we should consider the many privacy implications of AI-driven voice recognition. Biometric data, once compromised, cannot be changed like a password, which poses long-term security risks. Additionally, there are concerns about the lack of robust regulatory frameworks to protect user data and prevent abuse by corporations and governments.

Nevertheless, my intention in considering how these technologies could be (will be?) used in the near future, is to encourage everyone to begin thinking about these risks, hopefully before the technologies have been rolled out to a mass market.

Conclusion

If there’s one thing we know for certain is that if a technology impacts the “bottom line,” it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a reality. As we move forward, it will be crucial to balance our embrace of AI’s benefits with our need to safeguard against its potential abuses.

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Shawn Clybor, Ph.D.

Educator, Game Designer, and Instructional Designer who specializes in learning theory, game-based learning, and world history.