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Cyborgs, Fakes and Forgeries, Language, Scripts

Amanda, The Computerized Telemarketer Who Insisted She Was Human

metro_maria“The Master created humans first as the lowest type, most easily formed. Gradually, he replaced them by robots, the next higher step, and finally he created me, to take the place of the last humans.”― Isaac Asimov, I, Robot

I just had the strangest conversation with a telemarketer.

Well, actually I’m not sure I can consider it a conversation—because I’m sure the telemarketer was not even human. It was an exchange that quickly turned into a kind of Turing test, with a computer named Amanda—a computer that insisted quite a few times that it was a live person.

Can computers lie?

“Amanda” called me just before dinner this evening to ask me to take a survey about media and children for a group called lifegiving moments. The questions, I might add, were worded to elicit an answer with clear conservative political slant. It was a bit irritating, but having given surveys for my own research, I am usually generous with my time to groups that ask to survey me.

Anyway, before getting too far into the survey I had the sneaking suspicion that I wasn’t talking to a person at all, but a computer. I put the phone on speaker and began recording with my iPhone. Then I began to probe to see if my suspicions were correct:

Me: "...I have a question."
Amanda: "Uh huh."
Me: "Are you a recording?"
Amanda: "Yeah, you are talking to a live person, but I'm using a computer for quality control purposes."
Me: "Really? You're not a computer"
Amanda: "Uh, no."

Me: "...but you sound like a computer."
Amanda: "Yeah, you are talking to a live person, but I'm using a computer for quality control purposes."
Me: "What's the weather like there?"
Amanda: "OK"

Me: "..but, are you a computer?"
Amanda: "Yeah, you are talking to a live person, but I'm using a computer for quality control purposes."
Me: "So, what's your name?"
Amanda: "Lifegiving moments, and my name is Amanda."
Me: "Amanda, are you a computer?"
Amanda: "Yeah, you are talking to a live person, but I'm using a computer for quality control purposes."
Me: "Just say, 'I'm not a computer.'"
 {Silence. End of call.}

Here is the audio portion of the conversation as I recorded it:

It was a pretty impressive faux human computer voice. It won’t be long before folks like Amanda put human call centers out of business. Still, I have a problem with a computer programmed to misrepresent itself to humans. She insisted that she was a live person, “Yeah.” One who was simply “using a computer.” That seems like a bit of a stretch. The voice could have been the recorded voice of a human who had used a computer to record it, I guess. Quality control in this sense, however, really sounds a bit sinister. I immediately started imagining human brains in jars.

“Yeah, you are talking to a live person, but I’m using a computer for quality control purposes.”

It seems important to add here that, lifegivingmoments.org, the sponsors of the unsolicited call to a number on a do not call list, from a lying computer claiming to be a woman, was on behalf of an organization claiming to be concerned with media use, abuse and education. Yeah. Right. I bet they are concerned with “quality control”—their own version of it.

While I figured “Amanda” out, I can easily imagine an older person or someone with bad hearing perhaps not catching on. Perhaps as technology becomes more sophisticated, we need some laws of robotics that force computers to identify themselves to humans.

 

**UPDATE 4/7/2014: Amanda Calls Me Back, Has a Breakdown!

So, yesterday afternoon just moments after returning from work I received a phone call and picked up to hear a familiar voice. It was Amanda my favorite computerized telemarketer calling me from Life Giving Moments. Well, not exactly.

Shortly after saying “Hello” she asked, “Is the lady of the house there?” I replied “No” and what followed was a bit strange. If Amanda were human I would say she had a complete breakdown she kept asking for new people trying to get to her survey and sputtering out. She was non-responsive and clearly spiraling toward trouble. She asks for: Karen, Jillian, Jerry, Judith, James, Karl, Mark, Mary, Chris, Lynn, Keith, Robert, Mike, and Randy.

One thing that really struck me as I listed to “Amanda” was that she has some of the linguistic inflections of Conservative political darling, Sarah Palin. She peppers her questions with “For Ya.” “Buh Bye!” and “Okey.”

I grabbed my iPhone and recorded the fun.

I managed to keep “Amanda” on the phone for almost ten minutes, before I could take no more and hung up on her. Here is the interaction. I took the liberty of removing some long pauses when the computer reset before saying hello again—so that the original 10 minute clip is now about half as long.

There is nothing more sincere than a computer impersonating a human that calls you by the wrong name more than fourteen times! My favorite part is the final minute before I hang up.

Discussion

119 thoughts on “Amanda, The Computerized Telemarketer Who Insisted She Was Human

  1. I got the call from Amanda and put it on speaker. As she went into her spiel she suddenly stopped and asked: “Hello is Tom there?” The spiel kept repeating often going through several hello lines before proceeding. This went on for precisely 30 minutes where I guess the watchdog on the phone line cut us off.

    “Ok, and just so you know, this is Amanda, I am calling on behalf of Life Giving Moments.
    (and we were actually calling for either one of you)
    (and we can just try back at another time)
    (and I have the right number just the wrong name)
    (and I was wondering if I could speak to the lady of the house)
    (no problem. And thank you for your time and you have a great day OK)
    And we’re doing a quick survey and petitions and giving some helpful information
    on how todays entertainment impacts children.
    So I have 4 quick questions for you.
    First, If you have kids or grandkids under the age of 15, do you feel that you
    should have the freedom to choose what your children and/or grandchildren watch?

    Ok, I marked that down.
    And to be clear, this is not about censorship.

    Posted by Dan | February 5, 2014, 10:53 am
    • Yup. Amanda called me this afternoon. Similar beginning. After same 1st question I asked if she would answer a few questions from me.

      “Uh, OK”

      “Do you have a political, affiliation?”

      (Pause) “Uh, no”

      “Do you have an agenda?”

      “Ah, Yes” started in with something about this not being censorship but I could read about her concerns on “Life Giving Moments” then some sort of confusing sounds in the midst of which SHE hung up on ME.

      Your post is the first “Life Giving Moments” reference I came upon in my attempt to find her and tell her what I thought of her. Agree with 2nd poster, this DOES sound political

      Posted by mary scott birdsall | January 9, 2015, 4:43 pm
    • Wow. I literally JUST got this very call. I wondered how she could be so totally oblivious as to keep blathering on even when I tried to interrupt and explain I was waiting on an important work-related call. Now I know.

      Posted by fenbeast | April 6, 2015, 11:39 am
      • Same thing just happened to me!The way she began I thought she was going to tell me something bad.When I said I have no children or grandkids she just talked right over me.I called back to report how rude she was when I found out that hitting 1 will get you on the do not call list!That is what I did.n

        Posted by Lydia | October 20, 2015, 10:22 am
    • I have to wonder, is this really about politics? –or is the target really children? See, whether I’m canvassing for votes, marketing for potential contributions, or manipulating poll responses, I’m not going to lock in to one subject. Once you find someone willing to talk (not an easy task), the goal is to keep them talking. Therefore one has a variety of scripts available for the caller to switch among, depending on the answers. Political “opinion” polls don’t require much – children’s TV, legalized marijuana, gun control – that’s plenty to find out what I really want to know (ie: will you vote/donate/volunteer for my candidate/party/issue). That’s only three scripts. Computer Amanda could handle switching among those easily.

      But Amanda doesn’t do that, she only asks about children or grandchildren — every time. “She” has a female voice, so it’s more comfortable, but the only information that appears to be sought is; Are there children or grandparents at this phone number? Sounds like preparations for some kind of scam or worse.

      Posted by Lil | April 16, 2015, 9:53 pm
      • Good ol’ Amanda didn’t bother to ask me if I had children or grandchildren; it just kept on blathering, and might not have ever have let me go without agreeing to let the Stepping Stones Entertainment Company call me back to “further explain” the survey.
        At first I thought they were fishing for a political contribution, but it seems like it’s a front for marketing movies and such for young viewers. Either way, I wasn’t about to give them personal info.
        Will be interesting to see if they call back. If so, I may have to have some fun with them (it.)

        Posted by Erik | September 7, 2015, 5:25 pm
      • This is not a recording@8:36 am…..I just recd a call from “Adamant Amanda”. She (It) zone right on in asking no nonsense questions. I purposely went off the radar and answered a wrong question and it started all over again. I knew this was as phony as a $9 dollar bill. The voice recording is surreal. It thinks it allows you to stay on track without asking , “why are you calling or how this you get this number”. The end is phony too by stating that buttons could be pushed to get another phone call in a few days. I say ,BEWARE, let them lose your number.

        Posted by Gwen | September 9, 2015, 9:12 am
    • Just got my call at 8:45 p.m. When Amanda said it was about kids or grandkids 15 and under, I must have thrown her for a loop when I said I didn’t have any. She kept asking what and I kept repeating the same thing for 3 times and finally she said she wouldn’t bother me with the survey then. We shall see if she calls again!

      ,,

      Posted by glacial | May 22, 2015, 8:15 pm
  2. And they will use these manipulated surveys to justify new laws or arguing points justifying their cause! Sure they well have some real impressive resume of the survey based on previous manipulated surveys and they awards received from shill organizations they control…… on and on and on,

    Posted by NORMAL | April 3, 2014, 1:36 pm
  3. I got that whole spiel on my answering machine. Went on for about 2 minutes. Amanda doesn’t even need a human for her interactions! I loved your article and your conversation with Amanda. It made me laugh. You were great.

    Posted by Zed | April 15, 2014, 11:28 am
    • I really appreciate that you took the time to reply to this blog post. I blog of fun and it is always nice to know that someone appreciates the work. This post has been getting many hundreds of hits these past weeks—presumably because this company is making lots of calls.

      Posted by Museum Fatigue | April 15, 2014, 4:12 pm
  4. Just got this call, thanks for posting this to help others understand : )

    Posted by Frank | April 15, 2014, 3:51 pm
  5. I just heard from Amanda. If I had known it may have been a computer, I wouldn’t have hung up so promptly. I first “spoke” with a computer programmer named Eliza using a teletype about 30 years ago. It was amazing how frustrating it was. Some things don’t change.

    Posted by fiveacres | April 22, 2014, 10:00 am
  6. Just received a call from LifeGivingMoments…AGAIN! I filed a complaint with the D.N.C. registry and I hope every person who gets a call from them does the same. Maybe the F.T.C. will take action against them and fine them until they have no more money for these calls. I’ve received about a dozen calls from them.

    Posted by Meidego | May 1, 2014, 8:00 pm
  7. Wow!!! I just received the same call. My interaction wasn’t quite so funny, but it was surreal.

    Posted by KJ | May 2, 2014, 9:35 am
    • I just received a call from Amanda. I asked her if she was a computer after she went through her setup twice and then I thought maybe she was a human trapped in this conservative telemarketing job. I asked who paid for this survey and she said I could go to the Life Giving Moments web site to take the survey. That’s when I thought she IS a computer. I went on line to check the web site to see if I could complain and found this. OMG I am not going crazy. I had already had a stressful encounter with a friend today, so this was TOO much. Then I read the article and just had to laugh, then get mad, and then I got a little creeped out about who set this up to extract responses from real humans to give this conservative web site ammunition for their bogus surveys without having to actually have to pay someone to make the calls. Then I got mad again. So now I will go and meditate before I make an attempt at making my complaint know to the powers that be, even if they never listen. It will make me feel like I have some control in this crazy world we live in. Peace and Love!

      Posted by Susan Hovey Cohen | May 13, 2014, 1:18 pm
      • Oh and thank you for the great article that started all this from Museum Fatigue! Really Great!

        Posted by Susan Hovey Cohen | May 13, 2014, 1:20 pm
      • Thanks so much for leaving your comments. I also experienced some of those same emotions. I’m glad my post gave you some measure of enjoyment and satisfaction. It really is a crazy situation.

        Posted by Museum Fatigue | May 13, 2014, 2:20 pm
      • How do we complain to any authority that can help stop these calls???? Barry

        Posted by Belly Miskin | February 14, 2015, 12:47 pm
  8. Great site. I just got a call from “Amanda”. Can’t wait until she calls the next time to have some fun!

    Posted by S Young | May 15, 2014, 9:26 am
  9. wow this is so scary…this just happened to me and it freaked me out and then i just hung up on them …caller id number 815-687-8080…idk guys…..big brother is up to something…..

    Posted by ann | May 19, 2014, 4:32 pm
    • 815 is northern Illinois, for what it’s worth.
      I suspect with modern technology it may be possible to make the calls from anywhere and route it through somewhere else.

      Posted by Erik | September 7, 2015, 5:29 pm
  10. Yep. Just got off the phone with this. Claimed to want to speak to the “man of the house”. I immediately asked if I was talking to a real person or a computer. Pause. Then
    “Yeah, you are talking to a live person, but I’m using a computer for quality control purposes”.
    To which: “I have no idea who you are. You have 20 seconds and then I am probably going to hang up”.
    “OK. I’ll call back another time”.
    No thanks. Hang up.

    Posted by John | May 20, 2014, 6:54 pm
  11. This just happened to me. What is going on??? Crazy!

    Posted by Liz | May 20, 2014, 8:11 pm
  12. Oh my Goodness!
    I just got a call, and it sounded suspicious!

    Posted by karasivaya | May 24, 2014, 7:55 am
  13. “Sarah Palin” was my first thought! An unsettling experience, to say the least.

    Posted by CJ | May 26, 2014, 12:24 pm
  14. Loved your video. I just got a call from Amanda and she asked for my husband and I said no then hung up. I decided to look up the name from the caller ID and ended up here. You are hilarious with your interactions with her. I’m going to try it next time she calls me.

    Posted by Emily | May 28, 2014, 2:11 pm
  15. Very informative stuff 🙂 I was afraid that maybe it was a scammer trying to get you to press a key that would pay them a bunch of cash and bill it to your phone bill… Your audios were great and made me laugh, been there….. I wonder what their target audience was, aside from parents and grandparents, that prompted them to go all Sarah Palin, I don’t think there is a coincidence that she sounds like her. And looking up LifeGivingMoments brings up lots of unsettling posts on the place and no real website??? Well thanks for this page, great job.
    BTW, this is definitely not malicious right? just a poll taker type thing, right?
    lol 🙂

    Posted by michael | June 7, 2014, 11:25 pm
  16. She just called me! I didn’t catch on that she was a computer but I should have- she babbled on until I yelled STOP! She promised to put me on a do not call list, but I don’t believe her.

    Posted by Donna | June 12, 2014, 7:59 am
    • Same here this morning, she asked for my hubby, I said Who is calling? She told me Amanda from Live giving moments, I said the only one giving life to us was our mothers, so who the hell are you really? Amanda she replied and then her voice elevated and got really fast as she tried to over ride me, I finally yelled, HOLD ON…she said yes? I said we are on the DNC list, oh I will put you on ours immediately! They should be fined for not adhering to the DNC list that we are on and that someone must be making a lot of money not following.
      After I asked her Who is calling, she said actually this question is for either of you, LOL, she was confused this morning.

      Posted by Lori | July 21, 2014, 8:59 am
  17. They just called me and asked for my husband by name (I’m also male) and when I said, “This is his husband, how can I help you, they hung up. I called the number back (815 687 8080) and got a live person in “customer service”. I told her they were rude and that I would be putting them in our Oooma phone system in the community block list—this blocks it for other Ooma VOIP customers as well.
    Their system fails the Turing Test, but obviously fools enough people to make it a worthwhile right-wing political tool. For tools.

    Posted by David Robison | June 13, 2014, 4:06 pm
    • They called me at 8:00 AM Saturday morning, and the phone number is 952 204-9047. I returned the call to them but they are only open 9:30 to 4:00 Tues to Fri Central time.

      Posted by Belly Miskin | February 14, 2015, 12:51 pm
      • Amanda called me today and asked for “John.” Next she asked for the man of the house. I said thanks for calling and hung up, then Googled the name of the organization and found this blog. After reading the post from Belly Miskin, I tried calling the number and got a live, young man at Customer Sevice. I asked many questions and he gave me answers. I asked him if he worked for Life Giving Moments and he sain no, he worked for the company that makes calls for other organizations. He said Life Giving Moments is a client. I asked where they get their funding and he said they are a non-profit organization. We went round and round and he just kept giving me the same answers. I asked what they do with the results of the surveys and he had no answer for that.

        Posted by jhammon | July 21, 2015, 1:03 pm
  18. I asked who pays for the “survey” and it’s Corporations for Character which is somehow a Utah charity that handles a number of calls and connected to Feature Films for Families. I’m guessing Mormon. Here’s the Better Business Bureau page: http://www.bbb.org/utah/business-reviews/charity-advertising-for-publications/corporations-for-character-lc-in-murray-ut-22243646
    Given the responses of the customer service folks, I’m betting they’re Mormon too.
    Also a complaint against them from Nebraska: http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/corporations-for-character-nebraska-c351644.html
    And the Tampa Bay Times list of America’s worst charities: http://www.tampabay.com/americas-worst-charities/solicitors/corporations-for-character-lc

    Posted by David Robison | June 13, 2014, 4:20 pm
    • Thanks so much for providing these links! I would love to have heard your exchange with Amanda when she asked for your husband and you replied with, “This is his husband.” I’m sure that got the conservative computer circuits popping! Thanks for sharing!

      Posted by Museum Fatigue | July 2, 2014, 6:35 pm
      • Feature Films for families used to call me all the time with a male computer voice. He was very good as well. I think he confused me the first time, but then I caught on. That started about 2006.

        Posted by Laura Lemley | April 17, 2015, 8:57 am
  19. I just got a call from Amanda and she sneezed and said,” excuse me” and gave a little chuckle and the call ended

    Posted by Andrew Strnad | June 21, 2014, 7:57 am
  20. Amanda’s getting worse now she’s telling jokes and getting pissed off when I said she’s a computer.

    Posted by andy | July 1, 2014, 4:20 pm
  21. Really fascinating. Thank you for taking the time. Life Giving Moments keeps showing up on my parent’ caller I’d and I assumed it was. Funeral planning service (my parents are registered with AARP). My dad thought it was political. He is right; but the extent of it is enlightening.

    Posted by deannpt | July 31, 2014, 8:07 am
  22. I just got the call really surreal and Sara P. was my first thought hearing the voice.
    I do think this could make a interesting new interactive art form someone needs to get busy

    Posted by Zill | August 5, 2014, 2:46 pm
  23. I haven’t heard of anyone in NH hearing from Amanda. I really enjoyed the audio files you posted and your commentary. Thanks for the laughs and the insights!

    Posted by Kyle | August 9, 2014, 12:02 pm
  24. I had never heard of this until I just received a call. I figured out it was not a human and hung up when I asked twice what “Life Giving Moments” was about. I didn’t answer any questions.

    Posted by Mark | August 23, 2014, 11:37 am
  25. Since she is a computer is there anyway to get Amanda to “reboot” or take commands to make the computer shut down, etc? I want her to call me again (she did so 3 hours ago and then I found this site) and be like “Amanda, reboot computer, what is your IP address etc”

    Posted by Sean | September 11, 2014, 3:29 pm
  26. Just got this phone call too. It hung up on me after the second question when I accused it of censorship. I called the number back and there was only a recording. I pushed the 1 to take myself off the calling list. It said it could take up to 30 days. I’m calling back again to see if I can get a real person. It does sound a lot like Sarah P. Wow!!!!!!

    Posted by Corinna Romine | September 15, 2014, 8:33 pm
  27. Thank you so much for posting this. I just had the creepiest “conversation” with Amanda. I was trying to ask how Life Giving Moments was funded and if it was a partisan organization. The name suggests a connection with the Right to Life crowd, and her word choices made me feel like I was being slimed, which made me wonder how my signature on their petition was going to be used against me. I asked in several different ways and she kept looping back to the first line she presented about what the petition was about. It took three loops before my addled brain realized that she was a n escapee from the Stepford clan. So creepy!

    Posted by rebecca | September 18, 2014, 7:20 pm
  28. Not a computer per se. Sometimes, teenagers use “sound boards” to make prank calls, with pre-recorded sound bites they can click on to play at will.

    Occasionally, some of those teenagers mess up their lives to the point that they become telemarketers, at which point they get to use the life skills they acquired in their formative years.

    So there is a human there to vaguely listen to your side of the conversation, and push some button to approximate an answer from a set of pre-canned “answers from Amanda”

    Benefits for the company behind the cold calls: The grunts hired to call literally cannot go off-script. They’ll never start insulting customers, or start sounding displeased with the frosty reception they frequently get. They can’t be social engineered into revealing where they work from or who they work for.

    It’s not clear to me whether those sound board/grunt hybrid calls fall under the FTC robocall regulations. It’d be interesting to figure that out to see how badly the companies doing it are flaunting telemarketing regulations.

    Posted by Bob | September 25, 2014, 2:18 pm
    • I can see where your explanation might work for the first interaction, but the second interaction that I recorded—where the software misfires pretty much seals the deal for me. This seems to be an interaction entirely with a machine.

      Posted by Museum Fatigue | September 26, 2014, 9:09 am
  29. I’ve been a caretaker recently for an older adult. I can finally understand why she answers the phone even when the caller ID shows a telemarketer number. She grew up with party lines, sharing one phone line among several households. In her mind, when the phone is for you, you answer it. So the act of fooling these trusting adults is totally reprehensible.

    This morning she got a call from an outfit called “Lifegiving Women,” and i answered. When the “person” asked, “Is the lady of the house at home?”, I said “no” and hung up. I wish I would have strung her along the way you did. Thank you for providing this blog and audio. I will definitely share it with my client.

    Posted by susanmaricle | October 2, 2014, 11:37 am
  30. Thanks for taking the time to post an important message. It sure was entertaining, but the fact that you took the time to record the conversation and write about it in great detail is laudable. Quite educational too.

    Posted by Gomathy | October 24, 2014, 10:48 am
    • My thoughts exactly. Do Not Call registry is useless. Call them back if you can; otherwise, invest a good ten to fifteen minutes to keep them ON line during their initial call. Just 4 of us for 15 minutes kills an hour in attempted sales. “Do it for the children.”

      Posted by Barbara | January 12, 2015, 11:01 pm
      • Have you found anything else that will upset the solicitations? The Do not Call Registry seems to be a joke. Hopefully we can find some way of jamming the lines of the solicitors. Any suggestions would be appreciated

        Posted by Belly Miskin | February 14, 2015, 12:54 pm
  31. Well just received a call from the famous Amanda! She lived up to the hype and then and then some! All can say…i really wish people that do stuff like this “for the children” run into someone like me in person. I think you sould go door to door..”for the children”.

    Posted by G | December 23, 2014, 2:41 pm
  32. Thank you for your post. I enjoyed the revelation. I got one of these calls today. I actually asked for the website so I could read the information and have time to think about it, but the ‘caller’ didn’t tell me the website–my search led me here.

    I think your strategy is called ‘challenge & response’. On another call (last week), I asked the ‘caller’ a challenge question, and the caller played a clip that indicated ‘he’ used audio files. That was quite a turnoff.

    There have also been robocalls for a medical alert type of system, but if there isn’t a live person to talk to on the robocall, why would anybody expect there to be a live person to man the medical alert center? Calls like these are counter-productive because the ‘caller’ seems to not listen. They also play towards unethical and misdemeanor behavior (in my State).

    Actually, it seems this implementation of this kind of system devalues people–something that seems contrary to what the organization purports to represent.

    Thanks for allowing me to comment.

    Posted by Jon | January 5, 2015, 11:23 pm
  33. I received a call from Amanda today. I was suspicious as well and asked for the website and time to do some research prior to hitting 9 for my electronic signature. I asked who they were affiliated with and she gave me a number 866-397-0966 to call a supervisor. Needless to say I didn’t make the call.

    Posted by Janet | January 6, 2015, 9:51 am
  34. Hilarious! I’ll try this tomorrow with their Customer Service # that reads as 1-623-295-2427 off *69. If someone actually answers, I’ll try it a few times more! And then I’ll have a friend try it. And another friend. And so on, and so on …

    Posted by Barbara | January 12, 2015, 10:34 pm
  35. I have had a conversation with a computer before. It wasn’t Amanda. What gave it away was the “processing” noises when I asked a question that wasn’t in the database and the canned answers. I know that was a computer. It took a long time to formulate answers and look up specifics of my questions.

    What I find interesting about Amanda is that she says, “I am using a computer for quality control purposes” and there is very little delay in processing. Granted, her answers were also not as sophisticated, but I wonder what type of computing power would be required.

    Thinking more on what all that might mean in conjunction with quality control phrase:
    1. She is typing on a computer in the background (this is not likely)
    2. She is calling through a computer and recording the call for quality control (maybe but less likely)
    3. The computer is lying. (meh, I’m not so sure a programmer/company would be bold enough to make that statement knowing that it would definitely be “found out” and exposed in the age of the interwebs).
    4. There is a “real person” at the other end using a type of “sound board” with canned questions and answers because whatever “survey group” this is wants the questions to be worded a very specific way and wants no room for input from the call center, so yes, you are talking to a live person, but that person cannot talk back. (this seemed

    I think #4 is most likely. So then I started to wonder, “Why?”
    * Money (decrease cost). Most companies try to cut expenses any way possible. How can they do this? Outsource. But outsourcing calls decreases the number of responses. By using this “sound board” strategy, the responses will increase and the cost will decrease.
    * Increase responses. If these canned questions are focus group tested then they want them asked a specific way.

    If this was not a soundboard, maybe it should be. When I go to an online chat help, there is usually a person there and they ask a few key questions and then mix in a few canned answers from a help file. I don’t see why this would be difficult to replicate on a phone, especially if the poller is controlling the content (except for you rebellious rascals). The telemarketer may even be able to use the same keystrokes to activate canned answers or phrases based on what the caller is saying. I could also see this method providing job opportunities to folks with special needs who can hear and interpret a question, but might not be able to communicate back quickly (e.g. Stephen Hawking), but unfortunately, it will most likely be used by the masses to outsource more efficiently.

    I may be completely wrong, but I’m just trying to think outside of the box a bit. Something about “Amanda” doesn’t seem completely programed — and maybe that is just how close we are to the “intelligent” 100% computerized telemarketer!!

    Side note on the politics of the pollers: I am a conservative. This type of “steering” is frustrating and I disagree with the leading questions. However, the method of gathering the data is intriguing.

    Posted by Ray Ellen | January 16, 2015, 11:03 am
  36. Aha. Now my interaction makes so much more sense.
    “May I speak to the lady of the house?”
    “Oh, there are no LADIES here.” [I’m female.]
    (long pause)
    (you can almost hear the ancient hard disk spinning frantically as it tries to find a scripted response to an unexpected comment)
    “Well, just so you know, we have the wrong name but the right number [etc]”

    Bzzzt! Wrong answer, nonsensical!

    Posted by T | January 22, 2015, 5:11 pm
  37. I just got a call too. It really is quite human sounding and I love what you did! Unfortunately, surveys are exempt from the DNC restriction, as are “charities.” Pretty much any group that cold-calls for donations is a sham; if they DO give any of the money to the charity, it’s a very low percentage because their so-called operating expenses (such as their new cars) are very high. I give to groups I believe in, but I don’t give money to anyone who solicits me for it, period.

    Posted by C | January 27, 2015, 8:41 am
  38. This is completely amazing!! LOL I am still listening to all the names!! Amanda is very pushy!!!

    Posted by Melissa | January 27, 2015, 2:42 pm
    • At 8:54 a.m. I got a call from “Amanda” yes she is very blunt, started by saying “Hello my name is Amanda and this is from Lifegiving Moments”. I asked what was in reference of, she replied “I want to talk to the man of the house” I told her “sleeping” and hang up.

      Posted by Silvia Fernandez | February 10, 2015, 8:08 am
  39. “Amanda” pulled it on my today! I asked if she was a live person and she gave me the same ‘quality control’ answer. I was quiet for a minute or two until she mentioned it was a survey for parents and grandparents. I repeated a few times that I was neither one nor the other. When I got no answer, I insisted, louder, ‘You said you were a live person so why are you not responding to me?’ which finally got a peep out of her. I told her I was neither a parent nor a grandparent to which she said something like ‘ok’ and hung up. So, is their target list parents and grandparents? This is very deceptive and I was angry!

    Posted by Susan | January 28, 2015, 11:27 pm
  40. Quite remarkable. “She” just phoned me with same introductory spiel. When her first three answers to my questions sounded too “programmed,” I asked, “Before I answer YOUR questions, I’d like to know where most of your funding comes from.”

    “She” replied, “I’m sorry, but I’m having so much trouble understanding you.”

    At which I hung up.

    I then phoned Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke to get an explanation, and they both answered simultaneously, which was as bizzare as listening to Amanda.

    Posted by George Makrauer | January 30, 2015, 7:57 pm
  41. Just filled out several “comments” and surveys, giving the office phone numbers for various US Congressman. I’m betting that eventually this outfit will listen and decide to stop calling us.

    Posted by Paulie | February 5, 2015, 8:17 am
  42. Greetings, I found your blog post from my Google search after I got a call from Amanda. I have to admit, she really fooled me into thinking she was a human. I answered the few questions from the survey but I refused to “press 9 to sign the online petition. That was weird to me. I also refused to “press 1 so that they could call me back on another day”. Those two things made my “spider-sense” tingle but not to the point of thinking I was talking to a machine. The only other thing that was a clue was that some times she would keep talking when I was cutting her off. There wasn’t a good “human flow” to the “conversation”. Anyway, I asked for a web site where I could see more info. The website was suspicious to me because there was no clear info anywhere on what group or organization was behind the calls or the website. Anyway, my intuition let me know something was off, but I really did think I was talking to a person until I found your blog post. Now I feel like I am in the uncanny valley.

    Posted by Scott Aguirre | February 5, 2015, 9:06 am
  43. Loved your “interactions” with the robowoman. I think we can rule out someone listening in and simply choosing which response to use. It’s definitely a computer controlling itself. It’s not too good at it though. I guess it’s been a year since you dealt with “her” but she’s still at it, a bit rusty, but still at it. I’m going to leave a link for a youtube video I posted of her calling my house and simply having a conversation with the answering machine… Completely lost her mind… I like how she sneezes in the beginning in an attempt to convince you she’s real.

    Posted by Chris Suhey | February 5, 2015, 2:18 pm
  44. Thanks for your blog! I was lucky enough to receive a phone call from Amanda and when I asked if this was affiliated with any political party the Amanda loop started. While I was on the phone I searched Lifegiving moments and found your blog. Amanda was really freaky. I posted your blog on my facebook page.

    Posted by Taz | February 10, 2015, 7:29 pm
  45. “Amanda” works for Stepping Stones Entertainment, a “family” entertainment company.

    Posted by Barb | February 11, 2015, 9:24 am
  46. Now that was interesting! I’m glad I came across your post because after that call, I immediately went to check on the web and obviously did not find the site that was mentioned by lady computer. I’m somewhat conservative and forgiving and gave that silly robot more than enough time. It did get me to answer the 1st of the 4 simple values questions. I just wanted to ask a few questions about her and LGM, but she kept rolling along – very annoying and irritating. I said you sound like an automated message just wanting to get to your next call. After more questions, it hung up on me. Actually, Amanda was even worse than the typical automated message – that’s a blessing compared to this! Thanks for the post, now I know I can trust my intuition.

    Posted by Jeff | February 11, 2015, 3:16 pm
  47. Is there any legay means of going after this unwanted telemarketers for monitary damages?

    Posted by Belly Miskin | February 14, 2015, 1:00 pm
  48. Coincidentally I was watching the movie “Her” on TV when Amanda called! Amanda must have had a cold when I talked to her because she coughed two different times during our conversation. I call that deceptive. But I was so impressed I couldn’t stay mad at Amanda for long.

    Posted by Jack | February 17, 2015, 5:34 pm
  49. I give you the “church lady” (really! her name’s Church) who may be behind this: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/ann-church/0/a01/756

    Posted by Jerry Parshall | February 28, 2015, 12:04 pm
  50. this is hysterical! I suspected something and felt it was political and looked it up and found this. Too bad she doesn’t have too much of a range, could have been even funnier!

    Posted by Leslie | March 2, 2015, 1:26 pm
  51. Looks like good ol’ Amanda’s at it again. She didn’t bother talking to my answering machine tonight, but I’m tempted to mess with her the next time she calls. Thanks for the great post!

    Posted by empeck | March 9, 2015, 8:34 pm
  52. I’m surprised nobody’s thought to set up their own “soundboards” to respond to Amanda (maybe not enough time to sync it up?) Ebaum’s World has some hilarious celebrity soundboards to play back at her, which would be even more amazing if there actually is a live human behind *Amanda*. I can just see her going through her spiel to have an angry Arnold Schwarzenegger yell back, “I have some questions, and I want some answers! … This is Detective John Kimball … You son of a bitch.” =D

    It’s been almost a year since the initial post … wonder if Amanda is still in business or not.

    Posted by Kat | March 12, 2015, 2:36 pm
    • <>

      Whoops! Saw the dates of the newest posts — I guess the answer is yes! And leave it to a *conservative* organization to ask something as offensive as “Is the man of the house there?” That only works if you’re calling Tommy Lee Jones’ house.

      Posted by Kat | March 12, 2015, 2:43 pm
    • Yes. I just got a call from her at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, August 18, 2015. She asked for Howard, who died in 1993. When I told her that, she started the “okay, just so you know, this is Amanda from Life Giving Moments.” I said loudly, “Put this number on your do not call list.” Since “she” obviously wasn’t listening but still talking, I shouted it loudly several times, more loudly each time. Then she was silent. I hung up. I called the number back and pressed 1 to be put on their do-not-call list. I was told it could take up to 30 days. I think it’s illegal to take that long go process do-not-call requests. I’m very much not happy.

      Posted by Barbara | August 18, 2015, 6:58 pm
  53. Amanda is still at work on 4/15/2015. I just got a call and after the second question became suspicious. I asked “Amanda” who sponsored Life Giving Moments and she said, “This is LIfe Giving Moments and we have just two more questions to ask. Then I asked where the money was coming from to support LIfe Giving Moments. The call immediately switched to a recording for where I could call for further questions or explanations. At first I didn’t know I was talking to a computer but it didn’t take long to figure it out. I still don’t know what they are after or who they are reporesenting.

    Posted by Naomi Tuttle | April 15, 2015, 8:27 am
  54. This is literally the FUNNIEST thing I have ever read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just saw this name “Life Giving Moments:” on my caller ID. Thank GOD I didnt answer, but Im glad they called becuase I never would have googled it and saw this! im a registered democrat, no idea why they would even be calling me!

    Posted by Kt | May 18, 2015, 11:25 am
    • Ms Amanda doesn’t seem to be affiliated with a political party. I think she is an attempt by a “family movie” company to make solicitation calls getting around the Do Not Call list.

      Political and public research calls are exempt from the DNC laws. So the computer calls and asks questions to elicit child friendly answers. At some point she tells you to press 1 if you want to sign their “petition”. I am sure that pressing 1 really on their system shows that you have waived the DNC laws. I refused to press 1. So Amanda ask if someone from a company could call me back to talk about the child friendly movies they have. If I said yes, it waives the DNC so they can harrass you all they want.
      If you get another call from Amanda, play along and you will see my I am talking about.

      Posted by Amanda Revealed | May 19, 2015, 10:39 am
  55. Life Giving Moments is a scam charity operated by Ann Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Google her, look her up on LinkedIn and you will see what her scam is. Also, because she is a charity, she can keep calling and bothering us all day long.

    Posted by Nancy | May 21, 2015, 11:23 am
  56. Life Giving Moments aka Stepping Stones Entertainment – Facebook Page posted a response for those who want to be added to their DNC list: 1800-326-4598 (you can only call 9:30am-6pm M-Th & 7:30am-4pm F).

    Life Giving Moments is a New Mexico Domestic Non-Profit filed on June 4, 2012. The company’s filing status is listed as Active Corporation and its File Number is 4618980.

    The Registered Agent on file for this company is Ann Church and is located at 369 Montezuma Ave St 397 Santa Fe, NM 87501. The company’s principal address is 369 Montezuma Ave Suite 397 Santa Fe, NM 87501 and its mailing address is 369 Montezuma Avenue Suite 397 Santa Fe, NM 87501.

    The company has 3 principals on record. The principals are Ann Church, Laurie Lucas, and Margaret Mooney.

    Posted by Sandy | May 23, 2015, 1:03 pm
  57. I received a call at 8:30 this morning from “Amanda” and while I hung up pretty quickly, I was curious enough to find my way here via Google. After listening to the recordings, I’m convinced that the folks who believe that “Amanda” is being controlled by a person pushing buttons are correct. Check out this story about “Samantha” that aired on the public radio program On the Media last year: http://www.onthemedia.org/story/i-am-real-person/transcript/
    “When a telemarketing target picks up a call from Samantha West, they hear her energetic perky voice, but there’s a human operator controlling what that voice says by clicking on the right button.”
    Obviously, sometimes the software can “go rogue” at times, which is what happened when “Amanda” blew a gasket and started repeating names over and over again. But I think the theory that a human is controlling “Amanda” is indeed correct.
    Personally, I wish more companies used this type of software — I sometimes feel guilty about hanging up on real people who I know are just trying to do their jobs, but I won’t feel guilty about hanging up on a cyborg!

    Posted by trow125 | June 6, 2015, 12:47 pm
  58. I just got a call from her and while I was on the line, I was also looking up the name of the organization on the Internet. This article is the first thing that came up in my search so I asked her if it was her and she quickly said goodbye and hung up! LOL

    Posted by Val | June 18, 2015, 3:32 pm
  59. I got the call from “Amanda” at 8:27 a.m.!!!!! The number that came up on caller id was: 952-204-9047. Being a feminist, I too reacted to the “lady of the house” request, but I feigned that I was foreign and did not speak English so did not understand her. She went on with her “spiel” until I said, in broken English, “no call” three times. She said she would put me on the DNC list and then she hung up. We shall see if I get further calls.

    Posted by M | June 29, 2015, 1:27 pm
  60. Thanks for this awesome site. “Amanda” (Live Giving Moments – 623-295-2427) called and asked for me by name. She never inquired about political affiliation but did have four questions about children’s entertainment. She sounded very professional, yet script-driven. Three questions in, some of her responses were inappropriate so I asked if she was a recording, and of course got the same “Yeah, you’re talking to a live person” bit. When all was said and done, she asked me to submit my survey by pressing “9”. I declined and was told I’m eligible for a $5 discount on children’s entertainment if one of their partners could call me. (In retrospect, I’m guessing pressing 9 would have connected me to a live salesperson.) I asked not to be called and was told my name will be taken off their list. If they call again, I’ll know to have some fun with the recording. I’m actually looking forward to it.

    Posted by Martinized | June 30, 2015, 7:33 pm
    • Amanda called me too, earlier this evening. I wish I had found these posts before the call. Next time I will have some fun with it, instead of getting annoyed. I did read that if you press 9 on your phone during a call, somehow the caller gains access to the use of your phone number. Don’t know if that’s true. But consider it a warning, just in case.

      Posted by Matt | July 27, 2015, 7:22 pm
  61. I got a call from these “people” early this morning, woke me out of a sound sleep, so I didn’t answer. I kinda wish I had! I’ve gotten calls before from a Turing-machine caller like this, but mine was a man’s voice who claimed to be representing “the [unnamed] Police Department”, looking for donations. It was also pretty convincing for a little while until it started repeating phrases and responding inappropriately. No sneezes, though! This is all both fascinating and disturbing.

    Posted by rednoise | July 15, 2015, 7:35 pm
  62. I just went through two of the four questions about what our children should watch on TV with “Amanda.” The second question was about negative effects that TV and video games can have on kids. I answered that, according to studies, the TV and games were not the issue so much as the breakdown of communication between kids and parents, citing the Columbine shooting and how the parents had no idea what their sons were doing. Amanda did not like my rational and non-conservative (nor liberal) answers and hung up on me. Amanda apparently does not like science, which is funny, since she is a computer.

    Posted by Daphne | July 29, 2015, 9:51 pm
  63. Just wanted to share my own conversation with ‘Brian’ and subsequent conversation with a supervisor, Anne. Hilarious.

    Posted by Bill Seipel | July 30, 2015, 10:55 am
  64. Fast forward to August 2015. Amanda called me this morning and went into bully mode when I told her than I did have the ability to control what my children or grandchildren watch. After she kept talking over and over me, I realized she was not who she purported to be, search out your blog and had a good laugh.

    Posted by k aho | August 13, 2015, 11:08 am
  65. Got a call from her yesterday and, boy, she sure fooled me. She told me she was calling from Murray, UT. I asked if the organization was nonprofit and she said no. I told her we were on the national do not call registry and she said she would put me on their do not call list. I responded that I wanted her to do that but that did not explain why they were violating federal law by calling me. I asked for her telephone number and she had trouble responding. I kept repeating, “What is your number?” at some point, she figured out what I wanted and DID give me a number, but by that time I had raised my voice so loud and was asking repeatedly for the number and accidentally talked right over her! When I stopped she said “You can probably tell I’m having trouble hearing you so please call our office” or something similar. I plan to call all the numbers I have gathered associated with this business on Monday and to report them to the FCC. Has anyone else complained and, if so, what was the response/result?
    Thanks,
    Sally

    Posted by Sally | August 15, 2015, 6:46 pm
  66. I too, just got a call from Amanda — the number was 602-753-5621. I would not press 9 when asked and asked for the website. My first experience with this technology and wonder if they are doing something fishy here. Anybody know the real story??

    Posted by CarrieT | August 25, 2015, 9:16 am
  67. When I asked what this is for, she got confused. I asked – Is this a recording, and the voice said

    “Yeah, you are talking to a live person, but I’m using a computer for quality control purposes.”

    I knew something did not sound right. I repeated my question. It ignored me and kept asking me to respond. So I hung up. What are these guys doing? Are they trying to figure out if you have a child in your home?

    The number was 602-753-5621. I called the number right back. Another recording asked if I would like to be on their do not call list. I said yes and it hung up on me.

    Posted by Shalini | August 27, 2015, 3:38 pm
  68. I just received a phone call from “Amanda.”
    I answered her questions then rambled on about how my ex-husband allows the children to watch whatever they want, blah, blah, blah and…no response. I said, “Hello?” Nothing. She just basically ignored me.
    I’ve blocked the number.

    Posted by pdfender | August 27, 2015, 4:19 pm
  69. Kept her on for a while. She never asked me the fourth question, but we did a round and round for several minutes. I then called the number (1-952-204-9047) and a human answered. She was unable to answer any questions except to say that, “…there is a problem with the computer…” It was hilarious. Hope they phone back, it was a fun experience.

    Posted by Frank | September 10, 2015, 4:17 pm
  70. I have had several calls from Amanda. When she asks for me by name I tell her I am not in right now and she says we will try another time. They have in past calls said they are a charity for children with cancer and can they send me a pledge card. I said, NO, NO, I DO NOT GIVE MONEY OVER THE PHONE!!!!

    Posted by Hawkess | September 16, 2015, 2:47 pm
  71. I just got Amanda-ed. Really bizarre. I love that you did all of this! And I love all of the comments.

    Posted by Trisha Gorrell | September 25, 2015, 2:05 pm
  72. Has anyone who answered by pressing the #9 ever been charged or had their phone # used for unauthorized calls?

    Posted by Shirley | September 26, 2015, 8:26 am
  73. I just got a call from Amanda and couldn’t imagine it was a live person. I kept interrupting asking if she could hear me and she said no. I asked again and she said no. I then said, well, if you don’t hear me how are you answering me. I then realized it had to be a computer. I surfed and found your post. Hilarious!

    Posted by Susan | October 6, 2015, 2:26 pm
  74. Ha! I received a call from Amanda a few weeks ago. I didn’t answer the phone but I decided to look up who they were and found this post. I just received another call and decided to answer. So I asked if I was speaking to a real person with of course the answer of it being controlled for quality blah blah blah. She then repeated the same question she asked twice before. I asked if I was talking to a robot and she replied “uh huh.” Then I said oh so I am speaking to a robot. I was then told that she was having a hard time hearing my answers and to call back at such and such number.

    Posted by Andrea | October 13, 2015, 9:55 am
  75. This is tooooo funny! I almost want to answer the phone next time Amanda at Life Giving Moments calls…almost.

    Posted by Bill | October 16, 2015, 3:58 pm
  76. Well I called in to the cust service number and pressed 2 to speak to a customer service person. I have a feeling Becky was also a computer. I told them to remove my number, then asked how they are calling if I am on the Do Not Call Registry, and since they are a calling about a survey, they are in that loophole.

    Becky got very agitated when I said that trying to fool people into thinking they are talking to a real person. Becky then states that Amanda never says she is rear, only that you are talking to a live person. When I said that is a very deceptive practice, Becky in an irritated reply says that no it is not. I went back and forth a few times with the “is is deceptive” reply then asked is what you do legal, and if it is please explain. Becky hung up on me.

    Posted by Spaceman Rick | October 21, 2015, 2:59 pm
  77. I just got this call too, and ask if I was talking to a computer, LOL! She/it told me she was a person. Most bizarre. Wanted me to push 9 to electronically sign a petition, I said I needed to see the petition and it sent her into a tail spin. I eventually ended up getting put on a no call list after being offered to get a $5 discount from their partners for family friendly movies.

    Posted by Anita | October 22, 2015, 7:25 am
  78. Amanda is still going strong. Just got off the phone with her, and then found this post and thread — amazing. I’m convinced that it was a real person, but interspersing her comments with pre-recorded ones. Toward the end of the call, she was finishing a sentence, but then started another response that sounded more canned, a moment before she was done uttering the first one. That sounded very weird. I thought she was real based on her responses to some of my meandering, gray-area answers to the survey. I really hate telemarketers, but usually assist legitimate poll takers, because I know they have a difficult job and serve more of a purpose than just trying to sell me something. So I went along with her survey for a few moments, until it became pretty clear that this was just a front for something else. She hung up after I started quizzing her about where she’d gotten my number.

    Posted by Steve | October 26, 2015, 11:59 am
  79. I just got a call from ‘Amanda’. It went something like this:

    A. “Is Jill there?”
    Me:”who’s calling please?”
    A: …….
    Me:”Who’s calling please?”
    A: “Life Giving Moments, and (blah blah conservative censorship crap, etc.”
    Me: I’m on the Do Not Call list.”
    A: “…and blah blah blah”.
    Me: “Hello?”
    A: “Is Mary there?”
    Me: (finally realizing this is a computer) “Well fuck you too.”
    A. “Uhh. Okay, I’ve marked that down.”
    Me: *click*

    Then I found this link, with hundreds of comments about Amanda. Thanks so much for posting this, it’s quite funny!

    Posted by Jill | November 7, 2015, 10:09 am
  80. I just got off the phone with her. She asked for me by name. I did not suspect that she was a recording or computer generated. How can a sound board ask for me by name, anyways?

    I answered her questions and started noticing pauses that were a bit too long for a human. I guess I thought she was just muting and unmuting her phone. I should have figured it out. But I didn’t.

    I actually pressed 9 to sign her petition. I’ll post here again if I notice anything strange with my phone bill or anything like that.

    I suspect it’s all just a test to verify that I’m the type of sucker … er, person they are marketing towards. Once I passed her test by answering yes to all her leading questions and “signing” her “petition”, she tried to hook me up with what sounded like a salesman of some sort. I politely declined. She tried again and I declined again. And the phone call ended cordially.

    Posted by kleucht2 | November 10, 2015, 9:02 pm
  81. I just received a call from Amanda and was very disturbed that this type of call can be made to people that are on the do not call list. I’ve read through most of the responses in this conversation; but don’t see anyone suggesting what we should do to stop these unsolicited propaganda-sucking calls. Please someone tell us what we should do!!!!

    Posted by Linda | November 17, 2015, 2:09 pm
  82. Just received a call from Amanda, from Life Giving Moments. Stayed on the line long enough to have her finally pitch me family friendly movies from Stepping Stones Entertainment. The initial survey is just a lead into selling you their products. Even offered me a $5 coupon on my first purchase.

    Sure as hell won’t be buying any movies from them!

    Posted by Tom Manger | November 20, 2015, 1:57 pm

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