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May 5th, 2018

code switching robots

I think I realized why it's so infuriating to talk to robots on the phone. You know what I mean — you call a helpline or something and they've got the voice saying extra happy things like "Sure SPACEFEM, I'll help you with that right away. But first I need some information. What are you calling about? You can say CHANGE SERVICE, FILE A CLAIM, or CUSS US ALL OUT."

Then they kinda do or don't understand you and that's frustrating in itself but you know what's worse? They will never code switch like humans do. You know what I mean. When I'm talking to someone who talks fast, I talk fast. When they talk slow I talk slow. When they have a southern accent, I instinctively work in the word "ain't" every once in a while. It's what we all do.

I think I'm good at it actually.

Robots aren't that smart. There are too many tiny details. They can type, I've heard, and fake us out and make us think we're talking to a person, but it will be a VERY long time before verbal communication can pass a turing test.

My 7 year old definitely changes how she talks when she's around her friends, I notice. The 4 year old kinda doesn't. She talks slower to little babies but at some toddler age, they're all the same.