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A Turing test chat transcript

The following chat script has been anonymyzed for myself and the company, nevertheless it is an actual chat conversation. I was not at all surprised when 'Remmy' sent some auto-responses to my early questions. I would expect a modern company with many routine customer support questions to intercept simple statements and answer them with computer-generated info, and that the human monitoring the chat would get involved as necessary.

I began to wonder if the human was really there. Maybe he was, and became too busy to handle all the chats at that point. I am aware of humans using voice-response systems, and therefore appearing to be computers because of their limited ability to respond to specific questions. In this case, it seems possible that 'Remmy' might be a person who was able to understand English but could not write complex sentences.

I was concerned about being disrespectful to a person by accusing him or her of being a computer program, and at the same time wondered if it was truly an all-computer system which was willing to tell a bald-faced lie by pretending to be human.

Notice that some messages do not follow conversation order because both Remmy and I were typing ahead.

What do you think? Were any of Remmy's messages actually typed by the human behind the name? Is he human but limited in ability to respond? And what about James, his supervisor? His feel-good remark was so out of place that I compared it to the 30-year-old AI program, Eliza.

Thank you for choosing 'PhoneCo'. A representative will be with you shortly.

You are now chatting with Remmy G.

Remmy G: Hello my name is Remmy G. Thank you for allowing me to be your specialist today. How may I assist you?

Remmy G: How are you doing today?

<me>: I need to know the status of my trouble order.

Remmy G: Please provide me your billing telephone number or account number.

<me>: Should I get an online ID from you and log in to see it?

<me>: Yeah, it's still 'number', and my cell phone backup is 'number2'

Remmy G: Is your Home phone not working?

<me>: It's not working. I called it in earlier today.

Remmy G: I apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced.

<me>: I'm still talking to a computer, aren't I?

Remmy G: Have you registered your online account?

Remmy G: I can help you with that!

Remmy G: Please allow me a moment, while I access your account.

Remmy G: I am checking he details for your repair ticket

Remmy G: Please allow me 1-2 minutes.

<me>: Account number: 'account'

<me>: last amt due: $xx.xx

<me>: The amt, $xx.xx was due on July 31 and overdue (becomes $xx.xx) on Aug 11.

Remmy G: I am talking to our specialists. hey want to talk to you

<me>: You should now have my payment.

Remmy G: I'm sorry for the delay. I'll be right with you.

Remmy G: I'll be right with you.

Remmy G: <me>, I am sending to he steps to register your online account

Remmy G: Please follow the steps to register.

Remmy G: I haven't heard from you in a while. Do you wish to continue this chat?

<me>: Ok, I'd like to register.

Remmy G: Sure.

Remmy G: I am sending you the steps

Remmy G: I checked your records and see that you have not registered your account. This means that you do not have an Access ID or a password established at this time. In order to view or pay your bill online, you'll need to register for a
<details removed>

Remmy G: Please follow he steps to register

Remmy G: *the

Remmy G: If you wish, I can process the payment for you as well & provide you with the confirmation number of the payment. Would you like me to process the payment for you?

Remmy G: How would you like to make the payment via "Credit/ Debit Card" or "Bank Account" ?

<me>: The payment should be processed by now. If you don't show it as paid yet, let me know and I will contact my bank.

Remmy G: <me>, I have reviewed your account details and can see that your account balance is $xx.xx

<me>: good. Thank you for checking it.

Remmy G: We have received your payment of $xx.xx on 08/04/2014

Remmy G: The confirmation number is 'number'

Remmy G: I have also placed notes on your account to process the repair on priority basis.

Remmy G: Also, I have escalated your concern to my supervisor

<me>: Ok, I will try to register. Can I refer to this chat if needed, so I won't have to start over? I will leave it "on hold" for now and sign off if I successfully register, if that's ok.

Remmy G: Sure.

Remmy G: You can copy and paste the chat or take a print our of his chat.

Remmy G: If you wish I can contact you within next 20 minutes.

Remmy G: So that in the mean while you can register your online account

Remmy G: With he steps mentioned above.

Remmy G: *the
<pause here while I tried to register>

<me>: No luck. I still can't get an ORC from the online system.

Remmy G: What option you have selected to get ORC code.

Remmy G: You will receive ORC code within next 10-15 minutes.

<me>: it doesn't have a "by email" option, which I understand, as you have no record of my email address. By phone appears only to work if the home phone works. Someone would have to verify my identity and send to the cell phone for that to work.

<me>: By mail is too slow; so I will just wait and hope you can fix my phone line tomorrow.

Remmy G: I understand your concern

Remmy G: I assure you that your Home phone will be fixed tomorrow.

Remmy G: I have also escalated your concern to my supervisor

Remmy G: I am taking complete ownership of your concern.

<me>: You need to put a human on this line. Even though you have escalated three times now, I am still talking to a computer program.

Remmy G: <me>, I am a human being.

Remmy G: I only want to resolve your concern on priority basis.

<me>: I do want to compliment you on the quality of the robot, though. It is doing a pretty good job, and probably can pass for human with a large percentage of the service calls it handles.

Remmy G: If you wish I can share my ID with you for your confirmation.

<me>: Remmy, are you really? I know the conversation is computer-assisted, but I wondered at what point you would personally be available.

Remmy G: <me>, I am a live chat representative

Remmy G: My ID is <Remmy's ID>

<me>: I believe most of the messages have been computer-generated, however I'm sure you, Remmy, are human and it works on your behalf.

Remmy G: You can copy and paste this chat for your reference

Remmy G: if you wish to confirm hat I am a live chat representative and not a computer.

<me>: I would be convinced you are there and taking personal responsibility if you recognized why the registration system could not get an ORC code to me except by snail mail, and suggested using the cell phone as a backup. You would have to make sure you properly identified me as the customer I claimed to be in that case, of course.

Remmy G: <me>, my Supervisor would like to have a short chat with you about this contact, I am going to have him join the chat.

Remmy G: May I involve my supervisor for your confirmation.

Remmy G: ?

<me>: Ok, I will be glad to hear from you or your supervisor.

<me>: Yes, please feel free to put your supervisor on.

Remmy G: Sure

James: Hi <me>, my name is James and I am supervisor on floor

James: <me>, here at 'PhoneCo' we strive to ensure that our customers receive the best level of service provided by our employees. Would you say you were Happy with the service that Remmy provided you today?

<me>: Hi, James. If it's not too much trouble, send an ORC code to my cell phone, 'number2'.

<me>: I am happy with it. Somewhat limited though, due to either inability to understand or to respond in clear English.

Please wait while I transfer the chat to 'James'.

You are now chatting with 'James'

James: I understand your concern and I can imagin how you must be feeling

<me>: I will sign off now and wait for them to fix the phone tomorrow, if you can't easily send an ORC to my cell.

<me>: James, are you a computer program too? I can't believe the "understand your concern" at this point. That's straight out of the Eliza program!

James: <me>, this ORC is automatically generated when you choose the option online while registering and it gets send only on the home phone or email account associated with the account

<me>: Anyway, you guys did what you could and I am happy. I hope someone will enjoy reading this transcript.

James: No <me> we are not machines, we are real people trying to help our customers

James: Sure

James: Is there anything else I can assist you with?

<me>: Would it be ok with you if I shared it with others? I will leave the company name out if you prefer.

James: That is fine <me>

James: You can even take a print out of this chat

<me>: Are you guys in India? The guy who called my cell seemed to be, and I did have trouble understanding him, but I got through it ok.

<me>: OK, thanks again and goodbye.

James: You are most welcome

James: Goodbye
Da Rossa
I think you might have inserted a suggestion in my mind, but I quite agree that isn't a human being. It feels robotic... You could ask for confirmation, asking in the middle of the process: "what is a half of 13+11?"

On the other hand, that could be a human typing through macros, all preset, of course, also having the strict orientation not to discuss anything beyond the matter in question. I believe the first option though.
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