Thursday, November 17, 2016

Small things amuse me.

I have a land line (I know, I know...) and in the evenings there tend to be sales calls that come in, hawking just about anything, and these days they are often robot calls.

The calls are controlled by an algorithm that follows a script, with pauses for responses from you to their robot questions, after which they follow with what the algorithm thinks should be the correct response.

Sometimes, they are pretty good, and it takes a few seconds to figure out that the friendly voice is really a bot leading you down a pre written script to a desired conclusion.   I suppose having a good robot/algo combo saves these companies money on hiring Ranjit in Bombay to do the job.

Anyway, I'm sitting in my chair, surfing, when the phone rings, and "Jordan" begins a friendly pitch to me for something.  I never answer these questions in the expected way as a sort of test to see if the bot can deal with an immediate detour off script, but this one did pretty well, although there was a certain slight social awkwardness about "Jordan's" response.  Not quite correct.  The call is less than ten seconds old and I'm suspicious.

Bot/Jordan then launched into a bit of a speech about the fabulousness of something.  About two sentences in I decide to see if I could get him to stop, so I started saying "Jordan, Jordan, Jordan..." over and over.

As suspected, the bot/Jordan just kept going, but somewhere the algorithm running this thing realized an off script response - in fact multiple off script responses, all the "Jordans" - had been received.

It must have counted all the times I said the bot's name, as suddenly the speech stopped and Jordan started making a short nervous laugh, except the algo required it to laugh once for every time I'd said it's name.

So suddenly the speech halts and I hear,

.. heh, heh
..heh, heh
...heh, heh
...heh, heh

about twenty times.

I hung up laughing my head off.  I certainly hope the call was "recorded for quality control."


  1. That's why we got rid of of our landline! (was hard to do, though - old habits die hard)

  2. I have one old friend who never, ever calls me on my cell phone; only the landline. My LL is VOIP, so I wouldn't save anything by getting rid of it, but the ad calls are a nuisance; they go to voicemail.

    Old George got a "free" cell phone (he's disabled) but that sits in a drawer. The government might be listening! Some folks just won't change, no matter what.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.