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The next telemarketer you talked to might be a robot

This is creepy. Apparently, a company is employing robots to call up potential customers to pitch a deal. You might think you can differentiate a real person or a robot. Wait till you hear the audio, you will realize they (the robots) are becoming better.

robot-telemarketer

According to the source, Time Washington Bureau Chief Michael Scherer received a call from a woman asking him if he wanted a deal on health insurance. After a couple of questions, he felt something amiss and started to test her out with a series of questions.

At the end of the conversation, the woman (maybe) insisted that she is real. After this incident, a couple of Time reporters called back to check if this person is a robot or not. Hear these recorded audios uploaded from some Time reporters.

She kept insisting it is bad connection. For the benefit of doubts, you may think that she is real. However, in another recording, you can hear the almost similar responses to the questions and also the “inability” to accept the request from the person to say that she is not a robot. Instead, she kept saying she is a real person.

BTW, her name is Samantha West. This is not the end. 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.”

After answering her questions, one Time reporter was transferred to an actual human who did not promptly end the call, as others had when asked about Samantha. Asked for the company’s website, the real human on the other end of the line said it was premierhealthagency.com, the website of a Ft. Lauderdale company. “We’re here to help. . . because we care,” is the company motto on its homepage. A Time reporter called the company directly, identified himself and said Time was doing a story about the robot who calls people on the company’s behalf. “We don’t use robot calls, sir,” said the person who answered the phone, before promptly hanging up the phone.

Time published the article and updated that the website had been taken offline and the number is no longer manned by Samantha West.

UPDATE: As of Dec. 11, one day after this story published, the phone number listed above was no longer answered by Samantha West. Rather, it diverted callers to a busy signal. Also the website, premierhealthagency.com, had been taken offline.

So, is she real??

(source via io9)

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  • Ruth Simmons

    This reminds me of the consumer complaints posted at http://www.callercenter.com where the caller’s name was supposedly Rachel. The recipient thought it was a live representative but as Rachel kept talking, her robotic voice became obvious. It was a call from the credit card services.

  • joeteh

    Thanks for sharing.. :)