Friday, December 13, 2013

No, I Am Not A Robot

Telemarketing is reaching new levels of invasive methods.

In a Time NewsFeed article, Meet the Robot Telemarketer Who Denies She’s A Robot is a report, with actual recordings, of conversations in phone calls, where a robotic telemarketing voice denies being a robot.

Be warned that the Soundcloud recordings place cookies on your computer.  So if you listen, you will need to clear your browsers cookies.

I have prepared a transcript of Recording 68 for those who do not want to bother with the cookies:


Hi I’m good. How are you?

Well I’m calling about an online request you once made about health insurance coverage.


We work with all major companies and compare ...  (sudden stop & pause)

Hey are you a robot?

Heh heh, what? No, I am a real person.  Maybe we have a bad connection. I’m sorry about that.

That’s crazy. You sound so much like a robot.

I am a real person.  Maybe we have a bad connection. I’m sorry about that.

Will you tell me ... you’re not a robot?  Just say, “I’m not a robot.” Please.

I am a real person.

I believe you, but will you just say, “I’m not a robot”?  That would make me feel better to hear you say it.

Ha, heh, heh, heh.  There is a live person here.  Heh.

I know there is.  It would just make me feel so much better to hear you say “I’m not a robot.”

Ho uh what?

If you could say the words, “I am not a robot” it would mean a lot to me.

Heh uh, I am a real person.  Can you hear me OK?

Yeah, I can hear you fine.  I just want to hear you say, “I am not a robot.”

Yes, I’m a real person.

Right, but will you say, “I am not a robot”?

(Pause)  Ha, heh, heh, heh. (Pause) (Garbled with words over words) Hi-are-enrollment center- you-there? (Slight break) Are you there?

Yeah, I’m here.

Well let me ask you a couple of questions.  Are you currently on medicare?

Uh, no.  I’m not.


Now let me ask you a question.

(She talks over him asking) Are you on medicaid or looking for medicaide?

We’ll go...You ask me a question, then I’ll ask you a question. How ’bout that?


OK.  Are you a robot?


Will you say, “I am not a robot”?


Heavy sigh.

This is very much like many overseas customer service encounters, where the so-called customer service representative uses a script from which he or she barely deviates whatsoever.  But this is even more annoying and troubling.

The Time NewsFeed article states that their investigation of this included calling the company, Premier Health Plans Inc., and visiting the website.  After speaking with several company employees, finally Martin was addressed.  They reprort:

Martin also said he would inquire internally about whether Samantha West worked for the company, but would not be able to respond to the request Monday night. TIME will update the story with any additional information he provides.

They additionally report:

UPDATE: As of Dec. 11, one day after this story published, the phone number listed above was no longer answered by Samantha West. Rather, it diverted callers to a busy signal. Also the website,, had been taken offline.

Sadly, the National Do Not Call Registry no longer seems to be enforced.

I have challenged many telemarketers regarding this law and many have not even heard of it.

The NSA and other government agencies are so prolific in their spying activities directed at US citizens, and the complications of the Affordable Care Act and the NDAA and the Patriot Act and the host of Presidential Executive orders quite effectively make any laws for the protection of the private citizens nothing more than showpieces.

. . .

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