17 Feb If you hate telemarketers, you’ll love this robot designed to waste their time
Anyone frustrated with telemarketers may have a new best friend. A Los Angeles man with an unusual passion for phone systems created a new robotic answering service that wastes telemarketers’ time.
Roger Anderson started the Jolly Roger Telephone, which lets users start a three-way call with the service so they can listen gleefully as the bot rambles on. It’s designed to provide entertainment and empowerment for everyone who has grown weary of the phone calls. Its first question of the telemarketers is often, “Is this a real person?”
In a typical call, the robot keeps the telemarketer on the phone for a few minutes, but in some cases they go on for much longer. The robot does this by cleverly exploiting a flaw in the telemarketer playbook: staying on the line if the person is agreeable. So the system leans on “yeah,” “sure,” “okay” and “yes.” In one instance the robot kept a cable company on the line for 22 minutes. Here’s a taste of the conversation:
Cable company: “How many TVs do you guys normally use in the home?”
Cable company: “And do you know if those TVs are also in high-definition, HD?”
Cable company: “Okay do you guys normally like to record with DVR services?”
Cable company: “Do you know who is your current TV provider?”
Cable company: “Okay great as well.”
Anderson experimented with different personalities for his robot before deciding that an odd man who just woke up from a nap worked best.