Back in 2013, a YouTube video showing a call between a teen named Sheldon, and a telemarketer called Samantha West went viral. In the video, Sheldon tries to prove that the person he’s talking to is not a real person, but instead a robot. The 2 minute conversation consists mostly of Samantha denying being a robot, and trying to convince him that she is a real human person.
Lo and behold, Samantha was lying.
While the video doesn’t offer any definitive proof, a few days later, the people behind Samantha, Premier Health Plans Inc. in America came forward, admitting that Samantha was in fact, a telemarketing robot. One that they had built for the purpose of masking the thick non-American accents and language barriers of their employees.
Pretty spooky stuff huh?
The company explained that Samantha, while being a ‘robot’, operates similar to a remote-controlled car. She is controlled by a real human employee outside of the U.S. with her responses monitored and selected from a large pre-compiled list.
While this revelation proved that this was not the beginning of the robot apocalypse, it did have profound implications on marketing around the world. Marketers could now use these ‘robocalls’ to contact people in a new, unfamiliar way with the barriers of accents and language completely bypassed.
Since Samantha, many other large organisations, like phone companies and banks, have started implementing ‘robocalls’ as part of their customer support calls, all of which customers know that they are talking to someone ‘not real’. The initial problem with Samantha was that she had been equipped with the options to lie to consumers when asked if she was a robot.
I for one don’t mind ‘robocalls’, it’s always interesting to see how close we are to robots taking over the world, and how far they have progressed since Cleverbot.
So what do you guys think about ‘robocalls’ and robots in general? Are you okay with them or are you hesitant to accept our new robot marketing friends?