Machines Are Not Human

Fri 11 January 2008

Filed under Politics

Tags Lamer Moments Obvious

The only people on the planet interested (consciously) in worshiping and serving lower forms of life are PETA wackos. However, the folks at Verizon want you to know something: When you call them, you are on equal footing with machines. Call with any problem: New service, old service, complaint, billing, whatever. The cooly superior mock-human voice answers and immediately attempts to gently "take command" of the conversation. She doesn't understand, she has no sanity or insanity. She cannot hear you. It's a feeble fakery.

She comprehends nothing except one or two word statements. Like an NSA voice monitor, she waits for 'trigger' words to stimulate a response. Yet, she STOPS to give assent to your individual words. "Ok, I think you want to .....". The herky, unnatural slow pace of the conversation is mind-numbing. There is nothing elegant about it. She tries to emulate the flow of conversation, only when she cuts off mid-word, it's eerie.

In science fiction every reasonable robot is servile in all circumstances. Apart from the violent kill-them-all types, the most dangerous types are just like the Verizon helper. In "good" robots, the demeanor, though placid, can often be mistaken for more human failings e.g. arrogance or said superiority. However, time and again they bear out the simple nature and duty of caring for the humans they obey.

The 'naughty' robots, hereafter "VBots" live in a sick little world of pure logic. They are simple or complex, either have emotions or don't. However, their defining characteristic is an absolute absence of compassion or empathy. This becomes a malfeasant danger when it's coupled with absolute certainty of being correct (in the complex type), or abysmal limitations in the Verizon type.

The voice on the phone is not cool or confident. It's a cast iron bitch. Oh she will talk with you. But f*ck you if you think this is going your way. She forces you into a rote pattern of behavior. Sneering at mumbled/cursed/shouted requests for a human, her lack of inflection hints that you're below average for requiring human assistance.

Beginning in the call centers of antiquity, managers have sought for sovereign control of each call.


  • Keep those call times down.

  • Stay on target.

  • Avoid lengthy greetings

  • Never admit wrong doing

  • Apologize only in vagaries.

  • Keep those call times down.


  • Stick to the script, blah, blah, blah.

  • Maintain control of the call, move in the direction you want.

  • Never allow the mark to answer 'no'.

  • Stick to the script, blah, blah, blah.

  • Always ask pointed questions, which dictate polite responses, not refusals.

  • Act suprised when they change directions in tone or don't stick with the program, etc.

  • Stick to the script, blah, blah, blah.

You have the idea. A talented agent can coax you into any place he wants and make you feel as if it's your idea. Managers hate these people, but that's not important right now. What is important? These talented people are able to do what machines cannot: Keep you under control without subjugating you or pissing you off.

Deep in the surgically sterile world of evil, emotionless IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems are made to hate you. Sometimes, it's sheer desperation for someone to pick up the damn phone, but most often, it's because IVRs hemorrhage less money on consumer happiness than those underpaid, over-worked sweat-shop workers who live in the call center.

The machines can't despise you, because the machines can't 'do' anything. They don't exist as a conscious being. Like unto flu viruses are these machines.

A virus can serve life, or tear it down. Viri are essentially self-replicating processes which do something constructive for the bigger picture or break it apart.

The destructive virus, like a brain child of entropy, is bent on consuming, disorganizing and killing any living body more complex and larger than itself. Viruses tend to cause FEVERS - doing thier part in the much feared HEAT DEATH of the Universe. IVR's generate massive amount of CPU, RAM and hard drive heat. DACs and ADCs are more lik exhaust manifolds than a chips. In other words VBots are just like the viruses. At the end of thier wicked road is the death of everything. And Verizon is helping.

Next time you call a machine, relax - tension creates more body heat and tears you down. Try to cool off and don't fret about the IVRs, that heat death is millions of years away.

I hate Verizon for this crime against humanity. Even if I go on using their product. Who shall I complain to? The Internets, that's who.


Up To Something © Joshua M Schmidlkofer Powered by Pelican and Twitter Bootstrap. Icons by Font Awesome and Font Awesome More