Author Topic: Was this a robot?  (Read 231 times)

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Online daniel1948

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Was this a robot?
« on: December 06, 2017, 05:39:12 PM »
I got a phone call today, like several I've gotten before, but being bored I stayed on the line longer than I normally would. The caller ID showed a number here in Spokane, which I'm pretty sure was spoofed. I've read that the new thing is that they call you from what appears to be a local number. A very human-sounding female voice pitched me on a "free" vacation to any of several resorts, and all I'd be expected to do was tell my friends how wonderful it was, and "Can you do that?" I started to say, "It depends on if it really is wonderful..." but she cut me off saying she just had to ask me a few questions, and then she'd pass me along to a booking agent.

I answered "I'll answer your questions if you'll answer one of mine first." (I was going to ask how she got my name, though if she calls back again I'll ask "Are you a human?") Anyway, her reply was "I didn't quite get that," and she repeated her request to ask me questions. I replied again "I'll answer your questions if you'll answer one of mine first," to which she repeated her request to ask me questions. We went back and forth this way a bit until she finally started in with "Are you 28 or older?" Again I repeated my line, and she repeated her question, interrupting me to do so. After several back-and-forths of this, she thanked me and hung up. She never lost her temper or changed her smiling tone of voice, which was cloyingly friendly the whole time, even when thanking me for my time before she hung up on me.

It occurred to me that she never responded to anything I said. And I began to wonder if she was actually a robot, programmed to read her lines and to respond to "Yes" or "No" answers. Maybe it was an actual human voice, but the lines thrown out by a computer based on whether I said "Yes" or "No." If she calls back (and she's called several times before, so it is possible) I'm going to lead with "Are you a human?" And see if she can at least answer "Yes, I am."

But I now think that she is not a human at all, and the telemarketers have gotten sophisticated enough to throw out a human-sounding voice that seems real if you cooperate and answer "Yes" to her questions, which would weed out the people like me who are not going to cooperate, and allow their actual operators to talk only to people who might buy their scam.

Thoughts?

Anybody actually know anything about this?
Daniel
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Offline Jeremy's Sea

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Re: Was this a robot?
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2017, 08:06:50 PM »
There was a scam going around where they can charge back to your phone line (I forget the mechanism for this), and they basically try to lure you into saying "yes" and recording it as a means to justify your agreeing to the charge.

This sounds as if it may have been a robo call though trying to filter you through to a live person.
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Offline Belgarath

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Re: Was this a robot?
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2017, 08:16:00 PM »
That’s a robot.  I get them all the time.  Next time she calls ask her if she’s a robot.  You’ll love the response. 

Never say ‘yes’ to anything on these as Jeremy indicates.   Always say ‘hmm. Maybe’ or ‘im not sure.’

My goal is to get to the real person and waste their time.  If I feel like I’ve wasted enough of their time, I tell them ‘hmm please remove my number from your database. Also, my only goal today was to waste your time.... Did I succeed?’


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Re: Was this a robot?
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2017, 08:32:30 PM »

But I now think that she is not a human at all, and the telemarketers have gotten sophisticated enough to throw out a human-sounding voice that seems real if you cooperate and answer "Yes" to her questions, which would weed out the people like me who are not going to cooperate, and allow their actual operators to talk only to people who might buy their scam.


Yeah, I get those all the time - yeah, they're trying to screen interested people so they can pass you off to a real person.

Next time try mumbling your answer and she'll say "I'm sorry I didn't get that could you repeat"  and then "That's something you'll have to discuss with our plan expert".  It's kind of fun to try and make the thing search for an answer to a response it doesn't understand.  BTW, it has an answer to "You're not a real person are you?"

I suspect the real scam is they want your credit card number to rip you off.  I've stayed on line to talk to the real people and waste their time - usually it's resorts in Mexico.  I asked if my dog could come with me and they realized I was punking them.  Then I tell them to get a real job and stop annoying people.
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Online daniel1948

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Re: Was this a robot?
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2017, 09:42:18 AM »
That’s a robot.  I get them all the time.  Next time she calls ask her if she’s a robot.  You’ll love the response. 

Never say ‘yes’ to anything on these as Jeremy indicates.   Always say ‘hmm. Maybe’ or ‘im not sure.’

My goal is to get to the real person and waste their time.  If I feel like I’ve wasted enough of their time, I tell them ‘hmm please remove my number from your database. Also, my only goal today was to waste your time.... Did I succeed?’

But can you get to a real person without answering "Yes" to their questions?

...  BTW, it has an answer to "You're not a real person are you?"

Come on, guys, don't make me have to wait for another one of these calls. What is her answer to "Are you a human?" or "Are you a robot?"?
Daniel
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Re: Was this a robot?
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2017, 10:06:27 AM »
What is her answer to "Are you a human?" or "Are you a robot?"?

She says yes and is then transferred from you to a robot who can handle the rest of the call

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Re: Was this a robot?
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2017, 11:50:54 AM »
What is her answer to "Are you a human?" or "Are you a robot?"?

She says yes and is then transferred from you to a robot who can handle the rest of the call

Me:  You're not a real person, are you?
Robot:  I am a real person but I am using computer responses.  (you can almost hear the algorithm deciding what to say)
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Offline Beleth

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Re: Was this a robot?
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2017, 11:57:28 AM »
There are smart robots and dumb robots. Daniel, it sounds like you got a dumb robot - programmed to recognize "yes" and "no" and little else. I get those all the time too. I haven't gotten a smart robot yet, one that answers the question of "Are you a robot?" with anything besides "I didn't quite get that." But then I almost always let my work phone roll over to voicemail if I don't recognize the number.
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Offline uolj

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Re: Was this a robot?
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2017, 12:11:28 PM »
This sounds like how my Amazon echo replies to my daughter, who hasn't learned to speak slowly and clearly to it yet. My guess is that it's smarter than you think, but not smart enough to handle answers that don't actually answer the questions it is asking.

Offline Belgarath

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Re: Was this a robot?
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2017, 03:47:08 PM »
There are smart robots and dumb robots. Daniel, it sounds like you got a dumb robot - programmed to recognize "yes" and "no" and little else. I get those all the time too. I haven't gotten a smart robot yet, one that answers the question of "Are you a robot?" with anything besides "I didn't quite get that." But then I almost always let my work phone roll over to voicemail if I don't recognize the number.

Me: 'You're not a real person'
Robot: 'Yes! I am a real person, so are you interested in <whatever the hell it was selling>'
Me: 'Do you think you can pass the Turing Test?'
Robot: <click>

Also, the way you get through to the person is you say: 'That sounds like something I might be interested in.  Can you give me more information?'

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Online daniel1948

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Re: Was this a robot?
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2017, 04:26:37 PM »
... the way you get through to the person is you say: 'That sounds like something I might be interested in.  Can you give me more information?'

Okay. I doubt I'll do that. I know it's a scam, and the real person is not going to give me any more real information than the robot did. A podcaster spent some serious time calling one of these scammers and pestering them, and ended up getting some pretty nasty threats of real violence against himself and his family.
Daniel
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