My workterm hasn't started yet so I'm more or less moping at home. Working on beta.dune.net (hah, when am I not?!) and generally enjoying myself.
And then someone calls at 10:19 on a Wednesday, when I'm asleep.
Groggy Ardant: "Hello?"
*trademark telemarking pause* *trademark telemarketing click* Then this recording-sounding voice comes on. Hello! This is Bob calling from the National Post. Are you the head of the household?
"Sure, why not." [Ed Note: Legally I'm not. I guess the brain didn't start functioning until right now. Actually, I should have broomed him off right here, except my brain wasn't functioning and I wrongfully associated "National Post" with "Canada Post". So sue me. Or sue them for trademark infringement.]
Well, we have this new and exciting offer available. Do you read the National Post or get the national post in any way?
I'm thinking that this is a recording. The voice sounds tinny, he speaks in a high-pitched excited monotone commonly found only in informercials and on Larry King Live. It must be a 'virtual Bob', either a recording with smart voice recognition answers that adapt to you.
The telemarketing industry will go bananas over the latest and newest invention. You'll get calls all day from virtual Bobs, while you're trying to sleep, while you're trying to eat, while you're using the washroom; all at the low low cost of a few computers and a telephone line.
Would you be interested in receiving a special introductory offer of the National Post? Just 12 weeks for $12. And you get the top notch National Post coverage of sports, entertainment, and both international and regional news coverage. Just because the National Post is a national newspaper doesn't mean we don't cover local news in about Toronto.
Is it because you receive another newspaper?
Part of me was tempted to say "No, it's not because I receive another newspaper. It's because I live in a cage and I don't see the light of day. I get my information right away over this little copper wire, instead of a dead tree on my doorstep the next morning."
Well, we have lots of people who try the National Post with no obligation for 12 weeks! You'll find that the National Post is an excellent supplement to the other newspapers available; with an extensive financial section and financial news not found in any other paper!
I'm pretty sure by now virtual bob is virtual. He's sustained this high-pitch "I'm so interested in this I decided to call you and be all hyper about it" tone for much too long to be considered human. No one can be -that- perky.
I guess someone has now developed a reliable 'yes'/'no' answer detector. It's a matter of time before they have these telephone machines taking down our names, our credit card numbers... I decide, now, to play with the software. Throw it a curveball answer that it doesn't understand. See what it's trying to do. See what it can do. See what it can't.
"The cows are green."
Pardon me, sir? Same tone.
Must be a voice recording. Upon detection of a non-recognizable pattern, it would respond with 'Pardon me, sir?' to prompt the customer to re-state the answer. Sir. Hmm.. It must properly detect whether or not the customer is male or female. That one is harder. Let's see if I get the same response?
"The cows are green."
Pardon me, sir?
Victory! Now, what to test yet?
Cows aren't green, sir.
Ooops. Bob is on commission.