When you call a company and hear the line “This call is being recorded for training and quality control,” you might assume it’s being done to ensure their employees are doing their job.

But the company could be listening to you, too – and not just what you say, but how you sound. With this information, they could try to surmise your emotions, learn about your personality and perhaps even your physical characteristics.

Communication scholar Joseph Turow has spent the past few years poring through patents, trade industry articles and surveillance laws. He explains how the voice data being gathered by call centers, smart speakers and intelligent car displays is set to upend advertising and marketing. And should governments fail to act, he says, these shifts portend a new level of privacy invasion.

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Nick Lehr

Arts + Culture Editor

Companies could soon tailor what they try to sell you based on the mood conveyed by the sound of your voice. CSA-Printstock via Getty Images

Shhhh, they’re listening – inside the coming voice-profiling revolution

Joseph Turow, University of Pennsylvania

Marketers will soon be able to use AI-assisted vocal analysis to gain insights into shoppers' inclinations – without people knowing what they're revealing or how that information is being interpreted.

Economy + Business

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