This is how it starts, people. First we get our chatbots to sound and act realistic — and then we get them to convince everyone they're actually human. I'm talking about a crazy conversation betweenTime's Michael Scherer and a telemarketing robot who refuses to admit her true artificial nature. Listen to it here.
Recently, Time Washington Bureau Chief Michael Scherer received a phone call from an apparently bright and engaging woman asking him if he wanted a deal on his health insurance. But he soon got the feeling something wasn't quite right.
After asking the telemarketer point blank if she was a real person or a computer-operated robot, she chuckled charmingly and insisted she was real. Looking to press the issue, Scherer asked her a series of questions, which she promptly failed. Such as, "What vegetable is found in tomato soup?" To which she responded by saying she didn't understand the question. When asked what day of the week it was yesterday, she complained of a bad connection (ah, the oldest trick in the book).
Her name, she said, was "Samantha West." More from Time:
Disturbing, no? This is a problem that's only set to get worse. And just wait until these things are smart enough to start scamming unsuspecting victims.
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