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Have you aggravated a telemarketer today?

Bart Perkins | March 1, 2016
Roger Anderson’s Jolly Roger Telephone Co. offers sweet revenge offers sweet revenge against all those annoying callers.

JRTC plans to expand its offerings, starting with an enhanced voicemail service that will take messages from selected auto-dialed calls (your child’s school, your pharmacy, etc.) Other auto-dialers will be transferred to the friendly JRTC bot. Calls from real people will be passed through to your phone. Subscribers will be provided regular reports on things such as the number of auto-dialed calls blocked, the amount of telemarketer time wasted and the length of the longest call.

As a startup, JRTC needs assistance from businesses and individuals. You can help in several ways:

  • Suggest new conversation scripts. Current bot scripts are effective but limited. The JRTC bot relies on robust noise/silence detection to trigger the next phase of the conversation. Until the JRTC can afford an AI engine to direct the conversation, the bot is limited to predefined scripts. New engaging dialogues will make the bot more effective.
  • Provide diverse voices for scripts. Currently, the JRTC bot has a relatively undistinguished American male voice. A variety of male and female voices with accents from different parts of the world (including non-native speakers) would make the bot more believable.
  • Improve the JRTC website. Anderson has a lot of programming expertise but little Web design experience. The website is functional but needs improvements, including a better layout and a mobile-friendly version. Organic site traffic could be increased by additional humorous content; JRTC wants help animating previously recorded conversations. Finally, the website needs higher search engine rankings.
  • Optimize cellphone capabilities. Cellphones present different challenges than landlines. Anderson is evaluating several approaches, but all require changes to iOS or Android. Apple and Google don’t allow an app to control the speaker and microphone during an active phone call, so it’s not possible to let the bot (or any app) take over a current conversation, without supporting a “no hold conference button.” Other technical solutions would be appreciated.
  • Spread the word. Publicize JRTC. Share the best bot conversations with everyone you know. When JRTC’s leader board is unveiled, check to see how many minutes of telemarketer time are wasted by specific conversations.
  • Provide feedback as JRTC services evolve. All new systems require improvements. As JRTC becomes more mature, users’ suggestions will be critical to improving the bot’s success.

JRTC provides a valuable service that helps protect those who are overly trusting, uninformed or terminally busy. It is providing technology tools to level the playing field in the battle between telemarketers and their victims. Provide support for this worthy effort in any way you can. Help from some heavy hitters could really accelerate rollout:

  • Microsoft – Allocate resources to JRTC’s bot development. Protect your customers from fake “Windows Support” representatives attempting to take over customers’ computers for nefarious purposes.
  • MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, etc. – Create student projects to help supply the AI expertise that JRTC needs.
  • Hollywood and Broadway – Help write a wide variety of scripts, and encourage actors to lend their talents.

 

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