So you want to know you're talking to a robot?

Just imagine for a second, that people were calling for a law that the nationality of who calls them needs to be clear. “I need to know if a Mexican is calling me,” they would say. What would you call those people? Racists, right?

Now those people are doing something similar, but now they call what they do “ethics”. They are outraged that we can’t be sure if it’s a human or a robot on the other end of the line. Take a look at this video, from Google I/O 2018, if you don’t know what the fuss is all about:

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My question is, why would you need to know that? One common argument so far has been that scammers can make convincing robo-calls using this technology. Well, excuse me, but scam calls were invented by humans and they are still made, sometimes on pretty large scales, by human callers.

And besides, say a law was passed that robots had to introduce themselves as such over the phone. Then what? Let me let you in on a little secret. Scammers are already doing something illegal. You think they care? So what happens is legitimate calls, for which you have nothing to worry about anyway, will start with “Hi! I’m Google Assistant calling on behalf of Bob,” while scam calls will still start with “Hey this is Bob from…”, you get the idea.

So let me get a bit of advice. When someone calls you, listen to what they are saying. If it makes sense, go ahead. If not, end the call immediately. Doesn’t make much of a difference if it’s a robot calling you or not.

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