Surveillant Architectures

Developing paradigms in media culture. This blog is collaboratively edited by the Surveillant Architectures Group.

meanwhile, deep in the uncanny valley…


Freakishly realistic telemarketing robots are denying they’re robots

Recently, Time Washington Bureau Chief Michael Scherer received a phone call from an apparently bright and engaging woman asking him if he wanted a deal on his health insurance. But he soon got the feeling something wasn’t quite right.

After asking the telemarketer point blank if she was a real person or a computer-operated robot, she chuckled charmingly and insisted she was real. Looking to press the issue, Scherer asked her a series of questions, which she promptly failed. Such as, “What vegetable is found in tomato soup?” To which she responded by saying she didn’t understand the question. When asked what day of the week it was yesterday, she complained of a bad connection (ah, the oldest trick in the book).

Here, listen for yourself:

Several Time reporters called her back.

Her name, she said, was “Samantha West.” More from Time:

If you want, you can call her too. Her number is (484) 589-5611. This number, if you Google it, is the subject of much discussion online as other recipients of Samantha West calls complain on chat boards about the mysteriously persistent lady who keeps calling them. “A friendly sounded woman on the other end claimed I requested health insurance information,” writes one mark. “She doggedly refused to deviate from her script.”

Let’s call her next time we do the seminar!

http://xkcd.com/632/







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