The Robots are Taking Control
A few minutes ago, I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize.
Phone: Hello! I’m calling on behalf of the Republican National Committee to talk about the 2014 elections. I’m glad I caught you today.
Phone: I was wondering if you’d be interested in making a donation of
subtle computer noise thirty-five or fifty dollars.
At this point, I realized what was going on. The tone of voice shifted immediately before the phrase “thirty-five dollars,” as if the recording had different presets depending on the demographic or age data associated with the phone. I decided to have some fun.
Me: Hang on. You’re a computer, right?
pause Haha, I don’t sound that bad, do I?
Phone: As I was saying, your contribution is very important…
Me: I only ask because the computerized phone systems are getting pretty sophisticated, and it’s kind of hard to tell.
pause I know it’s a lot to ask…
Me: If you aren’t a computer, say the word “banana.”
Phone: I’m sorry, sir, is this a bad time?
Me: Just say the word “banana” and I’ll stay on the line.
Phone: Your contribution is very important…
Phone: Can I write you down for a thirty-five dollar contribution?
At this point, I’m scrambling to find someone nearby so I can put this on speakerphone and have some fun. Before I can, though, the robot starts its goodbye sequence and wishes me a good day.
There are no witnesses. If it weren’t for this, I might not have believed it.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.