Tonight’s musical selection is “The Robots” by Kraftwerk, in a 1977 video.

A Japanese interactive robot humanoid at a trade show

Another perfectly normal human.

Is it culturally significant that we now have robots (or human-like software programs) that deny they are robots? From io9, based on a story in Time:

This is how it starts, people. First we get our chatbots to sound and act realistic — and then we get them to convince everyone they’re actually human. Listen to this crazy conversation between Time‘s Michael Scherer and a telemarketing robot who refuses to admit her true artificial nature.

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).

You can even listen to recordings of the telemarketer robot in action. I especially like how “Samantha” sounds a little disappointed when you tell her it’s time to hang up.

Bonus: NPR Science Friday on “Building Social Robots.”

Housekeeping notes:

  • Please review our About Us page if you need a refresher on site rules, and
  • We encourage you to use our flag system — if you see an abusive comment, user or post, please flag it rather than replying. We review every flag and take the best action available to us.
  • If you have questions or concerns about Firedoglake-specific issues, please limit their discussion to Watercooler posts rather than starting new posts or making off-topic comments in others. But remember,
  • Firedoglake editors and staff are not allowed to comment on any moderation decisions.

What’s on you mind tonight? Got questions? The watercooler is an open conversation. And we promise we’re not robots.

Photo by Brad Beattie released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.