Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Exterminate! Exterminate!

I just spent ten minutes on the phone with a freaky robotic voice from Blue Cross (my insurance provider) asking me various questions about the effectiveness of my current therapist situation. I've had to take very short phone surveys from robot voices before, but not for TEN MINUTES. Nor did previous robot voices ever actually RESPOND to my answers other than a standard "thank you" or (in the case of the prescription refill robot at my pharmacy) a confirmation of my last name.

For instance, the Blue Cross phone robot asked me to tell her/it the effectiveness of my visits to my therapist by stating "no improvement, some improvement, much improvement." When I said "some improvement," the robot voice said, "that's great!" I found this profoundly disturbing. I wonder if I'd said "no improvement," it would have said "sorry to hear that." Plus I kept trying to psych out the robot because I was suspicious whether my insurance company is trying to weasel out of paying for my therapist visits by tricking me into saying I no longer need them. A robot! I was trying to PSYCH OUT A PHONE ROBOT! Something is seriously wrong.

3 comments:

DaviMack said...

You can only psych things out which have minds. It's like trying to psych out the refrigerator.

Profoundly disturbing, though - I wonder if, really, they're doing a study on just how paranoid talking to a robot makes you, and decided to start off with the people who're more likely to show strain under those circumstances. :)

TadMack said...

No, seriously? It said "That's Great?" I'd be freaked out the rest of the day!!!

a. fortis said...

It totally freaked me out!

And I guess, to be technically correct, I wasn't trying to psych out the robot so much as the minds who wrote the robot's script--the ones who might be evaluating whether or not to pay for my stuff...but it felt weird nonetheless.