Robot telemarketing, via James D.
Recently, Time Washington Bureau Chief Michael Scherer received a phone call from an apparently bright and engaging woman asking him if he wanted a deal on his health insurance. But he soon got the feeling something wasn’t quite right.
After asking the telemarketer point blank if she was a real person or a computer-operated robot, she chuckled charmingly and insisted she was real. Looking to press the issue, Scherer asked her a series of questions, which she promptly failed. Such as, “What vegetable is found in tomato soup?” To which she responded by saying she didn’t understand the question. When asked what day of the week it was yesterday, she complained of a bad connection (ah, the oldest trick in the book).
@weareskeptic at work / on Instagram http://ift.tt/1dYZwUt
The Distillery Gallery is pleased to announce it’s next show, “Scraps” - a group show featuring work on our made out of scraps, leftovers, and throw aways.
Featuring work from:
- Adam O’Day
- Ala Dehghan
- Beth Redmond Walsh
- Bobby Anspach
- Bradford Rusick
- Brian Hart
- Brigid Watson
- Caitlin Duennebier
- Carolyn Lewenberg
- Choi Dachal
- Daniel Lear
- Dave Tolmie
- Eric Love
- Fish McGill
- Jamie Horgan
- Jennyfer Haddad
- Kathleen Bitetti
- Kristin Texeira
- Maria Molteni
- Mary Sherman
- Michal McKeown
- Mr. Never
- Nick Zaremba
- Pat Falco
- Patrick Peltier
- Rachel Newsam
- Sable Matula
- Sarah Gay
- Scott Chasse
Please join us for the opening reception on Thursday, December 5, 7-9pm. Show Dates: December 4 - January 11
Distillery Gallery 516 E 2nd St, Boston, Massachusetts 02127
A cartoon by Drew Dernavich. For more cartoons from this week’s issue: http://nyr.kr/1isIyQl
Mónica first ran a script to probe the restaurant’s online reservation service for new availability and noticed that space became available at 4am but would be fully booked again by 4.01am. He deduced that at this speed the reservations were being processed by bots.
He then proceeded to write his own bot to compete in what he calls a Bot War Arms Race, similar to the bot wars in High Frequency Trading. He has made the source code available and explains:
I used mechanize to create a simple ruby script that goes through the process of checking for available reservations (in a given time range) and making a reservation under your name.
With this script I was able to start getting reservations again, but I know that this bot war will continue to escalate. Expect future posts on how I will adapt my strategies as the arms race continues to heat up.
Things can become so familiar that we no longer perceive them at all. Art, however, can take the sound of the sea, the intonation of a voice, the texture of a fabric, the design of a face, the play of light upon a landscape, and wrench these ordinary phenomena out of the backdrop of existence and force them into the foreground of consideration.
— James Carey, Communication As Culture, 1989
Manipulating Bitcoins for fun and profit seems just as likely as controlling oil reserves or adjusting interest rates. Currencies are meant to be tools of mass control given that, historically, money was “whatever the king was willing to accept in taxes.” Saying you’re making a democratic currency is a lot like saying your building a non-lethal weapon: the damage might not be as severe or predictable, but its still meant for controlling and hurting people.
There is such a thingification of media when, for example, movies become computer games; when brands become brand environments, taking over airport terminal space and restructuring department stores, road billboards and city centres; when cartoon characters become collectibles and costumes; when music is played in lifts, part of a mobile soundscape (Hosokawa 1984; Bull and Back 2004). Media objects in everyday life come to rival manufactured objects. We deal with media as representations—painting, sculpture, poetry, the novel—in terms of meaning. When media become things, we enter a world of operationality, a world not of interpretation but of navigation. We do not “read” them so much as “do” them (“Just Do It”), or do with them. This was already incipiently the case with the “mass media”, newspapers, radio and television. Their ubiquity, and the fact that they were not confined to a separate space, as was art, the museum, cinema or indeed the university, meant that they were already encountered as things. They were much more ready-to-hand already than are mediums such as painting or sculpture. What was incipient with the emergence of mass media has become the axial principle of global culture industry. In global culture industry, what were previously media become things. But also what were things become media.
— Scott Lash & Celia Lury, Global Culture Industry, 2007
The digitarian society. This is based completely on digital technology, in a way implicit, totalitarianism: tagging, metrics, total surveillance, tracking, data logging and dreams of 100% transparency. So, organised entirely by market forces, so the citizen and consumer are essentially the same. Nature is there to be used up as necessary, it’s governed by technocrats or maybe an algorithm.
One ought to be faithful to details of politics, commerce and diseases, and yet at the same time recognize that politics, commerce and disease did not of themselves demand that everything in the social realm should be a question of counting.
— Ian Hacking, How should we do a history of statistics?