When The Asian Call Centre Phones Ask For Agent Samantha West
TIME magazine’s Washington Bureau Chief Michael Scherer received a phone call from a Samantha West. The caller wanted to talk about Scheree’s health insurance.
He asked is she was real? She replied: “I am a real person, can you hear me okay?” The staffers called Samantha back:
She failed several other tests. When asked “What vegetable is found in tomato soup?” she said she did not understand the question. When asked multiple times what day of the week it was yesterday, she complained repeatedly of a bad connection
Robot or a call centre worker in Asis? Robot, apparently.
Alexis C. Madrigal (real person) wanted to find out more. And she found that – get this – it wasn’t a robot.
Samantha West is a human being who understands English but who is responding with a soundboard of different pre-recorded messages. So a human parses the English being spoken and plays a message from Samantha West. Itis IVR, but the semantic intelligence is being provided by a human. You could call it a cyborg system. Or perhaps an automaton in that 18th-century sense.
So. We don’t need robots; not when you can pay people to behave like them.