If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(The Atlantic)   The rise of the machines: the cyborg telemarketer   (theatlantic.com) divider line 26
    More: Interesting, public switched telephone network, tomato soup, response rate, Nuance  
•       •       •

1264 clicks; posted to Business » on 14 Dec 2013 at 4:52 PM (37 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



26 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2013-12-14 05:15:19 PM
This is not really new news; customer service menus have been using this for awhile where pre-recorded prompts are used based on the speech interpretation of your voice.

That said, I tend to assume any unknown caller is either a robo-caller or telemarketer anyway, and send it to voicemail. Family and friends know to leave a message, or text me if it's urgent.
 
2013-12-14 05:29:26 PM

houstondragon: This is not really new news; customer service menus have been using this for awhile where pre-recorded prompts are used based on the speech interpretation of your voice.

That said, I tend to assume any unknown caller is either a robo-caller or telemarketer anyway, and send it to voicemail. Family and friends know to leave a message, or text me if it's urgent.


Until that first robo-marketer deploys a kill-bot to persuade you to reconsider, anyway.

/Old Glory patron for 10 yrs
 
2013-12-14 05:49:29 PM
Is your refrigerator running?
 
2013-12-14 06:00:46 PM

Phil McKraken: Is your refrigerator running?


No, it is bound and gagged in preparation for the mass orgy and eventual sacrifice to the pagan god of lardasses
 
2013-12-14 06:11:07 PM
*knock* *knock*

Yes

Sarah Connor?
 
2013-12-14 06:11:57 PM
art.penny-arcade.com
 
2013-12-14 06:28:07 PM
Turing nods approvingly.
 
2013-12-14 06:28:21 PM
Those voice response systems are especially annoying when you are calling to tell them their customer is deceased (my mother died earlier this year). I have felt at times quite like John Cleese in the pet shop. Or DeForest Kelley in "Wolf in the Fold."
 
2013-12-14 06:53:08 PM
"Hello?"

[pause]

"I'm sorry, you have the wrong number. There's no Sarah Conner here."
 
2013-12-14 07:30:01 PM
Still more efficient than talking to "Alex" in Kandahar
 
2013-12-14 08:02:59 PM
So we just have to introduce an unsolvable, audio formula over the phone. That will spread through the collective and destroy all of them, freeing up time to eat dinner in piece.
 
2013-12-14 08:04:47 PM

wildsnowllama: So we just have to introduce an unsolvable, audio formula over the phone. That will spread through the collective and destroy all of them, freeing up time to eat dinner in piece.


A Bob Dylan song?
 
2013-12-14 08:05:07 PM

Unobtanium: Those voice response systems are especially annoying when you are calling to tell them their customer is deceased (my mother died earlier this year). I have felt at times quite like John Cleese in the pet shop. Or DeForest Kelley in "Wolf in the Fold."


No she isn't, she's just resting her eyes.

/Sorry about your mom.
 
2013-12-14 08:22:43 PM
The future is gnar.
 
2013-12-14 08:24:51 PM

TV's Vinnie: [art.penny-arcade.com image 800x407]


More Penny Arcade promoting rape culture....!
 
2013-12-14 08:31:38 PM
Telemarketers are always robots.
 
2013-12-14 08:42:38 PM
Both people in that recording are either fake or really really bad actors.
 
2013-12-14 09:35:34 PM
So far, no one in this thread has read the whole article :(

"Well, while Americans accept customer service and technical help from people with non-American accents, they do not take well to telemarketing calls from non-Americans. The response rates for outbound marketing via call center are apparently abysmal."

Maybe because Indian cold call centers of late have been a reliable indicator of especially scammy telemarketing? (not that any cold calls are really legit). Anyway it's good news to hear that we aren't putting up with that crap.
 
2013-12-14 10:57:18 PM

nytmare: So far, no one in this thread has read the whole article :(

"Well, while Americans accept customer service and technical help from people with non-American accents, they do not take well to telemarketing calls from non-Americans. The response rates for outbound marketing via call center are apparently abysmal."

Maybe because Indian cold call centers of late have been a reliable indicator of especially scammy telemarketing? (not that any cold calls are really legit). Anyway it's good news to hear that we aren't putting up with that crap.


I don't even utter a word now. When I hear the telltale moment of dead silence I wait until they come on the line (just to make them waste their time too) and say 'hello?' a couple of times before hanging up on them. Dirtbags. And, incidentally, so much for the 'do not call' registry. Worked beautifully for a few years and now it seems like nobody pays it any attention.
 
2013-12-14 11:49:16 PM

Fabric_Man: "Hello?"

[pause]

"I'm sorry, you have the wrong number. There's no Sarah Conner here."


"I'll call back."
 
2013-12-15 12:16:38 AM
So if I understand TFA correctly, the author suspects that the inbound telemarketer consists of a human who understands English and a soundboard that generates a decent number of stock phrases in an American accent.  That's a clever dodge to get around the folks who do an automatic hang-up whenever an inbound telemarketer with a non-American accent calls.  The more stock phrases you have and the more flexibility you have in stringing them together, the better you will be at fooling the sucker.  Sorry- potential customer.

It's interesting that the Human brain is not only amazingly good at identifying imperfection in audio, but also equally adept identifying too much perfection.  Drum synth software is another good example of this.  Really good drum synths have the ability to introduce a certain amount of intentional error (and some can even vary the rate of error over time) because the human ear can actually tell when a beat is too regular for a human being to have produced it.  Even the best drummers make miniscule timing errors that "color" their performances.  We can't hear the errors, but we're really good at noticing their absence.

I wonder if a similar approach could be applied to sound boards.  Could you introduce imperfections, such as slurs, lisps, coughs, stammers, poor phrasing, self-interruptions, etc. at a rate low enough that it is not obvious that you are doing so but high enough that it helps to eliminate the "uncanny valley" in this type of human-guided speech generation?
 
2013-12-15 12:42:30 AM
Got a sip phone?

Here's a cyborg customer to forward your telemarketer calls to.

http://www.itslenny.com/
 
2013-12-15 12:49:28 AM
It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you make a purchase.
 
2013-12-15 01:50:28 AM

Vlad_the_Inaner: Got a sip phone?

Here's a cyborg customer to forward your telemarketer calls to.

http://www.itslenny.com/


Wow, that's awesome.
 
2013-12-15 01:56:51 AM
"Well, while Americans accept customer service and technical help from people with non-American accents, they do not take well to telemarketing calls from non-Americans."

Just a hunch, but I suspect they'll find people won't take well to telemarketing calls from Robo-Americans either.
 
2013-12-15 10:37:13 AM
Here's the best way to deal with Telemarketers.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7OgWcwgB50    (SFW)
 
Displayed 26 of 26 comments

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report