Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"Can You Hear Me?"

From the Los Angeles Times:
I’ve gotten this call a number of times in recent weeks, at home and at work, and each time I’ve been suckered by the lifelike opening to stay on the line longer than I normally would for a robocall or a telemarketing pitch. It’s only when I realize I’ve heard the exact same thing before that I realize I’m hearing a recording. This is a new and highly sophisticated racket known as the “can you hear me” scam, which involves tricking people into saying yes and using that affirmation to sign people up for stuff they didn’t order. It’s also an indication of what can be expected in the future from scammers and telemarketers as automated “conversational agents,” or chatbots, play an increasingly large role in interacting with humans. I’ve spoken with a number of experts in the field, and they all say natural-speech technology is advancing so quickly that it may be only a few years until we won’t be able to tell if we’re speaking with a machine. (Read more.)

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