Photo by Sander Weeteling on Unsplash

Who are you, exactly?

April 22nd, 2021
Photo by Sander Weeteling on Unsplash

Had a phone call from the bank earlier today. Nothing special. Someone from customer relations department, wanting to make sure that I’m getting what I want from the bank (like, don’t lose my money, otherwise we’re good, I guess?). But something was weird.

It was maybe a five minute call, with him doing most of the talking, and me doing most of the listening. But to be honest, all throughout the call I was not quite 100% sure that I was speaking with a real person. He was sticking to the script, which is understandable since he probably has another few dozen similar calls to make today. And then he was taking a pause to wait for my answer. It really felt like I was talking to some sort of an IVR [interactive voice response] system, where based on my answers they would choose their next section.

So he was sticking to his script (assuming that it was a real person). And I kept on thinking that I should stick to simple answers to keep that system (in case it was an automated system) on track as well.

It’s weird. There’s so much automation in these interactions (are chat bots still a thing?) that even a few hours later I still don’t know if he was a human, or a machine.