More from the ever weirder frontier of automated humanity.

The Atlantic has a fascinating piece on how the telemarketing industry has evolved to marry call scripts and recorded snippets of smooth-talking sales people to create what the author calls, “cyborg telemarketing”

avatar uiThe company that made the UI above is called Avatar Technologies. They turn the telemarketer’s sales call into a series of clicks on the buttons above. The company’s catchphrase is, “Outsourcing without the accent” and is geared towards operators of overseas call centers but once you visit their site, it’s clear they are setting out to solve more than just accents. In their words,

Our Avatar software takes the complexity of a sales pitch and reduce it to the simplicity of just pushing buttons. Once the recordings are loaded onto the Avatar soundboard, our Avatars enhanced agents are instantly master salespeople. Our agents only need to be effective listeners. There is no reason to train them on how to sell because our Avatar Software does the selling for them.

It’s sad to see a persuasive pitch parsed into a formula but it’s inevitable when we join man to machine. Witness  spam comment templates that’s have been floating around such as:

Wow, this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} is {nice|pleasant|good|fastidious}, my {sister|younger sister} is analyzing {such|these|these kinds of} things {so|thus|therefore} I am going to {tell|inform|let know|convey} her.|{Saved as a favorite|bookmarked!!}, {I really like|I like|I love} {your blog|your site|your web site|your website}!

There’s a whole doc full of this stuff that can be wired up and set loose on all the lonely bloggers out there in hopes of picking up a response like those scary Sentinal bots in The Matrix.Sentinel_V01_03Earlier in the month I posted about the robotic phone greeters in Japan that has been raised to an art form. Later, Google buys Boston Dynamics and I dug into how that company and others looked at nature for inspiration on how to evolve more efficient robots. This appears to be an on-going theme.

When will we tip the scales too far and realize that in the pursuit of efficiency we have lost our humanity?