Machines Are People, Too

The early internet brought the cost of voice communication dramatically down, and fast. For some years American consumers grumbled that ‘customer service,’ having been sent to cheaper offshore call centers, became incomprehensible and ineffectual.

These days I find call center calls with my dear fellow Americans, if not as incomprehensible, then at least as ineffectual. Is it just me?

It has to be the script they suit up with when they come into work, and their apparent inability to deviate therefrom into humanity. Blame the two-hour-old coffee in the bottom of the Bunn?

Tonight I called the air conditioning repair people after business hours and a live voice delighted me. I told it, “Oh hi, I was just thinking what I would tell the answering machine.” This plunged the live voice into stunned silence.

Spontaneous remarks had not been addressed on her script.

Pause, and a time wobble.

“Your address?”

Ah. On this conversation, we shall interact only as machines.

Now, why?

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