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Can Humans Fail the Turing Test? Yes.

I had the unfortunate experience of having to talk to CenturyLink about something, so I thought I would give the “Live Chat” feature a try. I wanted to know how much it would cost to have service for three iPhones and whether or not they would pay any cancellation fees with my current carrier.

I was asking too much. I am still not convinced that I was talking to a real human being; maybe I just have too much faith in humanity to believe this was a human operator.

Here is the transcript of the chat that took 15 minutes to get nowhere.

info: Thank you for contacting CenturyLink. A sales and service consultant will be with you in just a moment.

Your account information is confidential and protected by law. Please advise our agent if you prefer that we do not use it to market products or repair your services. This has no effect on the service or offers we provide you.
info: Thank you for contacting CenturyLink for your internet and television needs.

To ensure compliance with Payment Card Industry guidelines, please do not share your credit card information, security code, or CVV/CVC in the body of this chat. If required, your credit card information will be requested through a separate, secure window.

You are chatting with Fior R..
info: How may I help you today?
Fior R.: Thank you for contacting CenturyLink! My name is Fior, how can I help you today?
Fior R.:
Robert: We’re thinking about adding a third iPhone to our family plan. We are with AT&T now. 1) How much would 3 iPhones cost with Verizon/CenturyLink, say on your 6GB/mo plan. 2) Will Verizon/CenturyLink pay my cancellation fees with AT&T?
–(( time ticks away ))–
Fior R.:
May I ask you, Do you have services with us now ?
Robert: I have CenturyLink home phone and DSL.
–(( time ticks away ))–
Fior R.: Thank you for the information.
–(( time ticks away ))–

Fior R.: I will be more than happy to assist you and I will do all in  my hands to help you. Can you provide me your service address as well as your account number, please?
Robert: xxx
Robert: xxx
Robert: xxx
–(( time ticks away ))–
Fior R.: Thank you for the information.
–(( time ticks away ))–

Fior R.: Just to verify that I’m speaking with a responsible party of this account, can you provide me the exactly last bill amount ?
Robert: $xx.xx
Fior R.: Thank you for verifying that information. You are a valued customer for us. I do want to thank you for your business and let you know that we most certainly appreciate it. One moment while I review your account.
Robert: or possibly $xx.xx
Fior R.: Thank you.
–(( time ticks away ))–

Fior R.: May I ask you, Do you have a TV provider ?
Robert: No. Not interested.
–(( time ticks away ))–
Fior R.: I asked because I do see you qualify for Prism® TV lets you watch what you want, when you want, where you want. And powering all this is CenturyLink’s fiber-optic† network. It not only sets Prism® TV apart from cable TV and satellite TV with lightning-fast responses and incredible control, but also delivers everything from local channels to sports to award-winning series in crystal-clear HD.
Robert: Blah blah blah, no thanks. I don’t own a TV.
Robert: How much would 3 iPhones cost on a 6GB/mo plan?
–(( time ticks away ))–

Fior R.: Allow me a moment please.
Robert: Are you a real person or some kind of AI/computer agent?
–(( time ticks away ))–

Fior R.: A real person Robert.
Robert: OK, ’cause you’re sort of failing the Turing test.
Robert: I’ve got about five minutes, and then I have to go to a meeting. If you can answer the two questions in that time, many thanks.
–(( time ticks away ))–
Fior R.: I will be right with you.
–(( time ticks away ))–

Fior R.: Please call Verizon Wireless customer service at 1-800-922-0204 from a phone other than your wireless phone.
Fior R.:
Robert: Seriously, when you say “real person,” is that in air quotes?
–(( time ticks away ))–
Fior R.: The truth.
Robert: OK, well I’ve got to go, not that it hasn’t been totally unproductive. Oh wait, it has. Good bye.
info: Your chat transcript will be sent to xxx at the end of your chat.
Fior R.: Thank you for choosing CenturyLink, Have a nice rest of the day 🙂
Fior R.: Based on the chat transaction with me today, there will be a post chat survey. I hope you rate me a 10-10. Have I earned that score from you today?
Fior R.: Thank you for chatting with us today. Click the ‘Close Chat’ button (not the ‘x’) to initiate a short post chat survey.  Our goal is to provide you with excellent service and we sincerely appreciate your business. Please take a moment to give us your feedback.

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  1. February 16th, 2017 at 21:28 | #1

    Just reading this was painful. I am sorry you had to suffer through that. I have CenturyLink as my ISP and they are absolutely terrible. I see their commercials on TV and it irritates me, because of my lackluster experiences with them. CenturyLink, stop spending money on branding and put it towards support and expanding your networks and their speeds, already!

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