Downtime

Oct 22 2009   2:56PM GMT

Call centre automation takes macabre twist

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The Register brings news that Japanese programmers have developed an algorithm which can tell, just by listening to your voice, if you are about to die.

The software was developed by trawling through six months’ telephone records from the Yokohama ambulance service, corelated with data filed by paramedics about how alive the caller was when they arrived.

Of course the program will be of literally life-saving value in helping ambulance services decide which emergency calls should take priority.

However, technologies have a habit of straying from their original application and, just as the space programme gave us the non-stick frying pan, Downtime can not shake the uneasy feeling we may be seeing the Japanese doomware pressed into the service of some gruesomely sadistic TV gameshow in the very near future.

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