Samantha West was a voice recognition auto-response application introduced in mid 2013. Though not the first of its kind it was unique enough in that it was in its own pre-recorded voice “a real person”. Voice recognition response is not all that complicated, the application simply looks for key phrases then prompts pre-recorded responses – some right on target with a few quite out of the park. It’s the ones that are quite out of the park that are the give-a-ways.
Today it’s highly likely you’ve had at least one conversation with a voice recognition auto-response system and didn’t even know it. But when you do know it, it’s either entertaining or frustrating – rarely does it actually get you the information you need. This is primarily why IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems are only used in call trafficking opposed to customer service. In many cases the voice recorded responses are done by the same service rep you might end up speaking to when the call gets a bit confusing for the application or when it comes time to close the sale.
High volume communication industries like the FAA are aggressively looking at IVR solutions to manage the immense amount of radio correspondence in flight control/monitoring. This industry has been utilizing IVR successfully for over 15 years in simulation training.
Call centers are another driver in the development of advanced IVR technologies. It’s highly likely you’ve received one or more automated pre-recorded telemarketing calls just within the past month. In 1991 Congress enacted the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that restricts the use of automatic dialers and artificial or pre-recorded messages in telemarking. The TCPA was revised in 2003 to apply the restrictions to only those numbers published within the National Do-Not-Call Registry. Most call centers are outside of the U.S. and simply dial for dollars with no regard for the TCPA or your listing within the registry.
With major industry benefits there is a tremendous amount of investment going into the development of IVR technologies towards the goal of not letting anyone know it is an IVR call taking place. The “I’m a real person” Samantha West IVR application is still being used today.
You might be thinking you’d be pretty good at identifying a IVR call, they are slow to respond and often responses don’t match the question asked, and you can’t get them to stray off topic. But could you recognize an application driven online chat conversation? AI technology is script based learning – you ask a question, you provide a response. AI absorbs these conversations than applies its own interpretation when the question stray outside of the learned responses. Today applications can virtually simulate flowing conversations with ease while casually drifting in and out of specific topics.
The average American spends 4 hours a day online of which it’s estimated that 30% of that time is interacting with pre-templated response driven applications, search engines, webpages, social media sites, etc… Online audiences are global and growing at a tremendous rate, the larger the venue the more likely you are to be soon chatting with AI. It’s absolutly impossible for a company to man phones and customer service resources to manage tens of thousands of users less the millions that many online venues are experiencing. AI is the only practical and cost effective solution for online product/service interaction.
Here’s a sound clip from zekejmiller’s interaction with Samantha West: