Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from October 23, 2017 Options

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Mon. May 25th, 6pm - 7pm: Steven Levy, author, "Facebook: The Inside Story" (More info...)

Options October 23, 2017: Phone-robots will fight telemarketers for you - feat. Roger Anderson, founder of Jolly Roger Telephone Co.

Listen to this show:  Pop‑up player! | Add or read comments

THIS THURSDAY: You're invited to Skeptech 2 on Thursday, Oct 26, at Monty Hall (doors open 6:30pm, show goes 7pm to 9pm) - hosted by Mark Hurst, featuring JON RONSON, NANCY LUBLIN, APARNA NANCHERLA, and JO FIRESTONE. 100% of ticket sales will go to WFMU to benefit the station. Sign up here.

Tonight on Techtonic: A conversation with Roger Anderson, founder of the Jolly Roger Telephone Company, whose phone-robots keep telemarketers in conversation as long as possible. Roger has posted to YouTube lots of recordings of notable calls.

Subscribe to the Techtonic podcast to listen to past episodes of Techtonic.

Artist Track Images Approx. start time
  Robots fighting telemarketers! Jolly Roger Telephone Co. founder Roger Anderson describes how he built voice-robots to waste telemarketers' time. Mark plays three of his favorite recordings of Jolly Roger bots speaking with human telemarketers.
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options   0:05:18 (Pop‑up)
Mark Hurst   Mark's Intro   Options
0:05:18 (Pop‑up)
  Interview with Roger Anderson, founder, Jolly Roger Telephone Company  
0:20:40 (Pop‑up)
Kosmischer Läufer   Morgenröte   Options   0:38:20 (Pop‑up)
  Two more calls from Jolly Roger Telephone Co     0:40:08 (Pop‑up)
  Scam Roundup from Station Manager Ken  
0:51:46 (Pop‑up)
Randy Travis  Forever And Ever, Amen   Options    

Listener comments!

Avatar 5:50pm JollyRoger:

"Jolly Roger" Anderson is here! Looking forward to interacting with Mark and the audience!
Avatar 6:02pm Fredericks:

Long Live Power Point!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:02pm listener james from westwood:

Evening, Mark, Roger, and all!
Avatar 6:02pm Fredericks:

Hello Jolly Roger!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:03pm Carmichael:

I use NoMoreRobo. Seems to work pretty well.
Avatar 6:05pm geezerette:

Hello, Mark!
Ahoy, Jolly Roger!
& buddies!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm queems:

oh god the circle made me a nervous wreck
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm Webhamster Henry:

Google feels we are not taking enough photographs.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm Carmichael:

That way, when someone steals my phone, they steal ALL my data.
Avatar 6:11pm geezerette:

Webham Henry, exactly.

@Mark, you aren't being cynical. You're being observant.
Avatar 6:11pm glenn:

ahoy! this is your captain speaking.
Avatar 6:11pm Jeff:

Remember the 1989 analog version of the fun automatic-picture-taking camera?

The Konica Kanpai!

The party camera.

"The main attraction is its voice-activation, though. After adjusting to the ambient sound level, the camera reacts to loud voices or noises, indicated by a row of LEDs on the front. Standing on its funny tripod with basket shoes, it turns within a 45° angle toward the source of the sound and takes a picture automatically."

Avatar 6:12pm northguineahills:

I was visiting my parents and caught my Dad in a 2 hour call about to pay for $2500 to upgrade his norton security on his computer, I shut that down quick.
Avatar 6:13pm JollyRoger:

Actually, Mark is a bot right now. We created it together.
Avatar 6:13pm glenn:

i'd like to strangle them all, the fuckers.
Avatar 6:14pm Jeff:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm Ken From Hyde Park:

I basically gave up on answering the phone anymore. I only pick up if it's someone I know. I do like the idea of someone who's wasting the telemarketers' time.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone! Nice to see everyone here. And welcome, Roger!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm Webhamster Henry:

Sharon calls me two or three times week. On all my lines.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:16pm listener james from westwood:

Oh, this is delightfully evil.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:16pm queems:

i love this
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:16pm joe mulligan:

oh gawd who is this SEM punk representing!?!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:16pm steve:

haha there's a bee
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:16pm listener james from westwood:

My fellow copy editors seem to have been plagued by several sales Heathers. No Winonas yet though.
Avatar 6:16pm Jeff:

It had me at bee.
Avatar 6:16pm glenn:

evil, and awesome.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:16pm Mark Hurst:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm Webhamster Henry:

It's like Andy Breckman.
  6:17pm Listener142985:

I want this thing right now! Awesome. better than Longmont Potion Castle.
Avatar 6:17pm geezerette:

I'm afraid to touch it.
Avatar 6:17pm northguineahills:

I don't even have my ringer turned on. If I don't see my phone, I won't pick up.

It does sound like Andy Breckman.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:18pm queems:

this sounds like something my dad would do but he's a live person
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:18pm Bas NL:

This is soooo great!!
Avatar 6:18pm northguineahills:

delightfully beautiful!
Avatar 6:18pm dale:

one night our phone rang 6 or 7 times and when the machine was about to pick up the caller hung up so we couldn't screen. 8th time i pick up and scream 'what? what the fuck do you want so bad you have to call over and over?!' then a little tiny voice asks for my wife - it was one of her clients. i felt horrible and she said he always does that if he doesn't get through.
  6:19pm herb.nyc:

Wait, no bees were harmed, right?
Avatar 6:19pm JollyRoger:

That bee won't leave me alone!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:20pm listener james from westwood:

Can we get a Cathy McGinty version? "::burp:: Sorry, I'm gassy!"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:21pm Webhamster Henry:

iPhone apps can't directly talk to the phone side of the device, but you could set up my app Yes Session to do more or less the same thing: wait for gaps in the conversation and insert a random sample.
Avatar 6:22pm Jeff:

Given the annoying BS of caller-ID spoofing, the calls I'm least likely to answer are the ones seeming to come from my exact same area code and exchange.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:23pm Webhamster Henry:

Well, there's a purported scam about answering "Yes", that they record your assent and use it to authorize over-the-phone services.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:23pm Bas NL:

I once managed to hang on to a telemarketer for 45 minutes and in the end he confessed he hated his job and he promised to quit next day.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:24pm queems:

i started seeing phone numbers from the town i'm from and i keep thinking they are doctors offices so i answer but they are always telemarketers
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:24pm Carmichael:

I get telemarketing calls from unused internal numbers here at the government agency where I work.
  6:24pm Bea:

I loved hearing the bots talking to each other!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:25pm Webhamster Henry:

I make strong arguments for unionizing call centers and urge the agent to join with the other cubicles in a mass walkout.
  6:26pm melinda:

The clip made me lol
  6:27pm Syl:

Right, what about the scam that Webhamster Henry mentions -- the telemarketer/company records you saying "Yes" and uses that to prove you assented to a service or purchase. How does Jolly Roger protect you from that?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:27pm Ken From Hyde Park:

In the 70s, my dad kept a guy from Fingerhut on the line for maybe an hour, just stringing him along. The guy finally asked if Dad could send in a check, he responded he was just wondering about the product. The telemarketer started swearing and hung up.
  6:28pm melinda:

I get Sharon calls at work a lot.
  6:30pm Bea:

These are robots I can get behind!
  6:32pm Dean:

I'm not so sure the recorded assent makes much difference. How is payment made?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:32pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Too bad the Workaholics show in Comedy Central has run its course before the guys could do an episode with these bots.
Avatar 6:33pm northguineahills:

Crap, I'm in my 40s and I prefer to never use my phone for voice calls except to call my parents.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:33pm joe mulligan:

I love playing the "Turing Test" with bots when they call me. I ask them, "what's your favorite color," "what was the last movie you watched," or, "how would you feel if I told you I liked you?"
Avatar 6:34pm Jeff:

Thanks, @JollyRoger!
Avatar 6:34pm JollyRoger:

I've never found an actual case of "you said yes to us, here's 1000lb of cheese" happening. Also, the voice saying "yes" is not yours. I think of it as "what if your drunk roommate answered the phone?"
Avatar 6:34pm northguineahills:

Thanks Jolly Roger, that was superb!
Avatar 6:35pm Jeff:

Mmm, 1000lb of cheese.
Avatar 6:35pm JollyRoger:

At one point, Moby Dick says "Your mom? Totally hot". He cracked us all up.
  6:37pm Bea:

Can't wait for Skeptech - the first one was AWESOME!
Avatar 6:37pm northguineahills:

Nearly half of my tee-shirt wardrobe are WFMU tees.
  6:38pm Syl:

Thanks for the answer re: the "Yes" scam, Roger. Do you think that scam is an urban legend? The FCC and BBB have issued warnings about it, but I wonder if there have been any actual victims.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:38pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, Bea! Hope everyone can make it to Skeptech this Thursday. Here's the signup link: montyhall.ticketfly.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:40pm queems:

this guy is mad
Avatar 6:41pm JollyRoger:

I don't like to call it an urban legend, but yes, I think that's what it is. There was a lot of hysteria over it. This person found "patient zero" www.archersecuritygroup.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:41pm joe mulligan:

brilliant work JollyRoger, and fun interview! Have you guys ever heard of Sam Kidel who plays warped muzak to telemarketers? www.factmag.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:41pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Act like a man, ya dumb robot!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:41pm Webhamster Henry:

@Jolly Roger indeed, the "assent" story did sound specious to me, which is why I gave it the epithet "purported".

I used to work in the emergency notification business, doing email, and had lots of trouble trying to get legitimate email past spam catchers!
  6:43pm Bea:

The robots are so much nicer than the telemarketer!
Avatar 6:43pm JollyRoger:

This guy makes a living wearing you down. He just got worn down by the bots and he never called back.
Avatar 6:43pm northguineahills:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm chris:

good robot, here's a cookie.
  6:44pm Paul in Bloomfield:

this is amazing
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm queems:

seriously though, the audacity of this guy. like, he just invaded someone else's space and then he's mad about it
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:45pm Mark Hurst:

"Are you a real person?" ASKS THE ROBOT
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:46pm Folsom:

Ken should do the Old Codger voice for Jolly Roger.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:46pm Webhamster Henry:

The next step is of course more AI on both sides. Commerce will kind of ensue.
  6:46pm Syl:

Thanks for that article! It's so difficult to find good, hard info about this stuff.
Avatar 6:47pm northguineahills:

great idea Folsom!
  6:47pm Paul in Bloomfield:

@jolly roger i love this! thank you!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:47pm Webhamster Henry:

(Irwin does the voice, but whatever)
Avatar 6:47pm glenn:

yeah, no. i'm not ever going to florida. no offense, n.g.h.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:48pm Folsom:

Ah I always thought that Ken did Old Codger - good to know.
Avatar 6:48pm glenn:

and really, i have zero sympathy for anybody who can't figure out they're being messed with.
Avatar 6:49pm JollyRoger:

It breaks my heart that some people pay this.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:50pm Webhamster Henry:

I mentioned Andy Breckman because A) Ken did a show with prerecorded Andy samples once and B) I wrote this app (which I think is no longer in the store)
  6:51pm Dean:

Another legal question: Is it illegal in some states to record a call without both parties' consent (or a warrant)?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:51pm Fox:

That older voice actor sounds strikingly like the friend of Joe Frank, Larry Block
Avatar 6:51pm JollyRoger:

We have "non-recording" numbers also. But those laws don't really apply since there's only one human on the phone.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:52pm Webhamster Henry:

It's a fun project, Roger! What a business plan!
Avatar 6:52pm JollyRoger:

Excellent job, Mark! Thank you!
Avatar 6:53pm JollyRoger:

Thank you Henry! You did a great job!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:53pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks for being on the show, Roger!
Avatar 6:53pm glenn:

i've received 6 phone calls on my land line in the past hour. all telemarketers.
  6:53pm Fred:

Ken, maybe you should try meshugaless.
Avatar 6:54pm dale:

girl scout cookies are a scam too. last time i bought them i paid for my thin mints and asked what the money was for. lady told me they were taking their troop to paris. and here i thought they would clothe and feed the poor.
  6:54pm xunknown:

Check your pronunciation on Nevada!
Avatar 6:55pm dale:

and those clothing donation bins are a scam. clothes usually go to resellers and NOT goodwill or salvay.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm queems:

@dale as far as i know, girl scout cookie money isn't typically used for charity. at least my troop never used it for that
Avatar 6:56pm dale:

...and don't get me going on kars for kids.
Avatar 6:56pm glenn:

huh. don't most guys crochet while watching porn?
Avatar 6:56pm geezerette:

Mark, this is such a great show.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm chris:

crossword puzzles for me, glenn
  6:57pm xunknown:

The ‘a’s in Nevada are pronounced like the ‘a’ in cat!
Avatar 6:58pm northguineahills:

Thanks Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Cooh John:

Great show.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Ken From Hyde Park:

I like how the computer virus displayed the jolly roger as it blew up the mother ship in the Independence Day movie. Thanks, Mark, Roger, Ken and team.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm chris:

thanks, Mark and Ken and Team!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm listener james from westwood:

Thanks, all!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm Webhamster Henry:

The Anymatic Zingatron may return as a webapp so everyone can use it!
Avatar 7:00pm JollyRoger:

I'm so flattered! Thanks so much for hosting this chat! You can all get in touch with me at jollyrogertelephone.com. Facebook youtube, etc. Also roger@jollyrogertelephone.com. Thanks everyone!
Avatar 7:00pm Jeff:

@xunknown: I'd contend that Nevadans may pronounce it that way, but people from elsewhere will choose `o' as in bot!
Avatar 7:02pm Jeff:

...and then there's Missouri / Missourah
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