Alibaba has invested some serious dollars in their AI program, and as an e-retail platform it’s no surprise that cranky customers are one of their top concerns. The company is now using audio speech recognition to guess just how angry a customer is over anything from a botched product to a bungled order.

“Speech recognition will enable [Alibaba] to tell [us what] our customer’s emotions are like, and how angry [they are]. Then our customer service will be able to react to the customers accordingly, with the help of data derived from speech recognition,” Wanli Min, chief Scientist for Artificial Intelligence in Alibaba Cloud said in Cloud Computing Conference held in Shenzhen on Wednesday.

Speech recognition is the next step of Alibaba’s AI development plan. Currently, the company’s artificial intelligence initiatives focus more on visual analysis. Earlier this year, Alibaba partnered with Graphic Processing Unit provider NVIDIA and invested in face detection technology provider Face++ last year, which enables Alipay’s ‘smile to pay’ service.

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Eva Yoo

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at evayoo@technode.com