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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Computer talk is cheap

By Jim Mullen




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The phone hadn't rung all day, which was a blessing because we'd been catching up on a thousand and one things around the house. For us, spring cleaning involves some heavy lifting -- and that's just the dust bunnies. As a reward, we'd decided to treat ourselves to dinner out. Sue went upstairs to clean up and the moment I heard her turn on the shower, the phone rang. Dorothy the Computer from our prescription-by-mail company was on the line.

"We have some important questions about ... Sue's ... prescription. Is ... Sue ...there? Please say 'yes' or 'no.'"

"Yes, she's here but ..."

"Is this ... Sue? Please answer 'yes' or 'no.'"

"No, but I'm her husband ..."

"Please have ... Sue ... call 1-800-555-5553682973401328876, extension 12 for some very important information about your prescription. Thank you."

When I think of the 23 hours and 55 minutes a day that neither of us are in the shower, I wonder how it is possible that the computer will call the exact moment one of us turns on the water. I can see how a computerized phone call makes it easier for my health care provider; what I can't see is how it makes things easier for me. It is a one-way call disguised as a conversation. The only time you should have to answer a question with only "yes" or "no" is when you're on "Judge Judy."

I want my wife to get her medicine, and I don't want her to have to call 1-800-555-5553682973401328876, extension 12. Just let me speak to a human. Or a better computer program.

When I call someone, the first words out of my mouth are usually, "Is this a good time for you to talk?" I'm pretty sure a computer could learn how to say that. And if the answer is no, the computer could ask, "When is a good time to call you?" "Never" should be one of the choices.

The only good thing about computer phone calls is that I don't feel guilty about hanging up on a computer. I don't think that I have hurt its feelings. What bothers me is that they could be done so much better.

How many times has this happened to you? The computer asks you to type in your account number "for faster service." Finally, 20 minutes later when you finally get to speak to a human, the first thing out of his mouth is, "Can I please have your account number?" I never type in my account number anymore, and it almost always gets me faster service. By not typing it in, the computer says, "I'm sorry, I don't recognize that. Let me transfer you to someone who can help you."

I have to phone in test results every few weeks to one of my health care providers. The first thing their computer says to me is to call 911 if this is an emergency. Is there someone on this planet that would call 1-800-555-5553682973401328876, extension 12 first if they were having an emergency? It's like explaining to plane passengers how to buckle a seat belt. If they don't already know how to do that, how are they ever going to figure out the toilet?

Somehow, we can tell the difference between a computer's voice and an actual human. But every day they are getting better and more realistic. A computer recently ended one call to me by saying "thank you," and I said "thank you" back. Was it just out of habit, or for a moment, could I not tell the difference? And what happens when the day comes that we really can't tell the difference?

I think we'll always be able to tell, even if the computer voices are perfect. How many humans are going to start a conversation by saying, "If you'd like to speak to me in Spanish, press 9" in perfect Spanish? No matter how human they sound, that's got to be a dead giveaway.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

Jim Mullen is the author of "It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life" and "Baby's First Tattoo."


Previously:


Please, invade my privacy
Why I hate my Facebook friends
Spotty training
TV or not TV
Plan the marriage, not the wedding
Algebra comes in handy
You are what you plant
Fasten your bucket-list seat belt
The Museum of Modern Body Art
Not at home on the range
WE'RE HAVING A BABY!
My Little Pony cookbook
Musings on the mutability of time
The envelope, please!
The car of the future
Where's Gutenberg when you need him?
You are what you watch
Today's special: Cacophony, with a side order of the flu
His and her movies
WARNING: The local gym may be hazardous to your health
The Starbucks Gap
Meat-free holiday about as happy as a heart attack
All I don't want is another gadget
We went to the fiscal cliff and all i got was this stupid t-shirt
Some years, you just want to stay home
The first Thanksgiving family feud
Spamming the globe
Suburban mall is an endangered species
Worthless heist: Only in the world fine arts
The debate debate
Looking for a shortcut to penury? Buy a car
The pros and cons of a chicken tattoo
Does saying 'no' make us bad grandparents?
Crying 'foul' over ballpark proposals
College loans and job-search groans
That buzzing you hear is the sound of time flying
Too much of anything can get annoying
Five billionth in line for the throne
WARNING! This article may cause drowsiness
The mail and email of the species
Jotting down the un-bucket list
Bees deliver stinging fashion critique
Have a tissue issue? Help is a phone call away
My guy's guys are better than your guy's guys
Divorce, Facebook style
Millionaires are a dime a dozen
What not to name the baby
Technology is a wonderful thing -- when it works
A bad case of the wedding bill blues
Of cupcakes, teenage moms and crazy nuptials
FOOD FIGHT!
Rolling Stoned
Caterwauling over death of books is premature
Ask your doctor if this column is right for you
Could shopping be any more inconvenient?
Thanks for the lack of memories
Help wanted: Teenage life coach with all the answers
Sorry, wrinkles are not legal proof of age
Dead mice tell no tales
GOING PAPERLESS -- PRICELESS!
Should bad behavior be rewarded?
The perplexing problems of the rich and famous
Do these glasses make my gut look big?
More expensive by the dozen
In one year and out the other
Thank heaven it's Black Friday
Planning for the long term ---- tomorrow
READING THIS WILL MAKE YOU THIN AND HAPPY!
The Seven Secrets of Success
It's tough living off the gridIt's tough living off the grid
How not to clean the houseIt's tough living off the grid The yellow badge of cowardice
Any way you slice it
Home sweet homeschooling
Don't Head for the Borders
Money ball
Golf and death go hand in hand
Tune in, turn off, unplug
The radar curtain
Is Steve Jobs clouding my privacy?
The gift of garbage
Johnny Intern, Ph.D.
Twenty-foot fences make good neighbors
You must remember this…
TV experts and real news
Hey caller, where's the fire?
My sad cushy life
Pacemaker, don't you mess around with me
Big Brother is skinny
Flight of the snowbirds
This HDTV needs child support
Dear Future: Where's the dome?
Not so elementary, my dear Watson
A vacation revolution
Your call is very unimportant to us
Life: There's no app for that
Bam! Practical kitchen magic
Poisoning myself
Ban Huck Finn in schools --- even the sanitized version!
$38,000 for traffic and weather updates
2011 Predictions: Nostradamus was a hack
2010: A year of annoying junk
Why do bad things happen to stupid people?
Moving on from movie theaters
Money never sleeps, but it does pass out
President Trump kept it classy
Stalking your college kid won't change a thing
Putting my life in ‘Jeopardy’
Mo' government, mo' problems
iLostIt
Dressed for excess
Expert tease
The mysteries of Jersey
‘You are a toilet, where am I?’
Don't we all cheat at the game of life?
What happens when I forget where Google is?
Don't let the doorman hit you on the way out
Picasso fiasco
Purple (hair) ‘Daze’
Let me hear your body talk
Working from work
Babies deserve clean restrooms, too
3-year-old bear-killers are a thing of the past
Money-making ideas on the fly
Collecting and hoarding
Chain of fools
Please come pick up your acting awards, ESPN commentators, you've earned them
You've been superpoked by the U.S. gov't
e-Readin', e-Writin' and e-Rithmatic
A pose by any other name
Warning: Column contains 2010 spoilers
‘He loves only gold, only gold’
Think about direction, wonder why …
Flushing your money down a diamond-studded toilet
More like ‘wack’ Friday
The good, the ad and the ugly
The desert of the real
Let books be large and in charge
I was insulting people way before the Internet
GPS drill sergeant: Left, right, left!
Butterfly in the sky, you make winds go twice as high
Music to my ears it's not
You don't light up my life
Fair or not: Country living is far from ‘Little House’
A parable for the ‘ages’
Top 100 Cable news stories of the century
Green dumb
A developing story
Thinking outside the lunch box
What's good for the goose is good for the scanner
Newspapers will survive, but network TV?
A really big show of generation gaps
When pigs flu
The reports of our decline have been greatly exaggerated
Mergers and admonitions
Invest in gold: little, yellow, different
Stuck in Folsom Penthouse
Collecting karma
Setting loose the creative ‘juice’
It's all in the numbers
You're damaging your brain with practical skills
The real rat pack
The unspeakable luxury of the Park-O-Matic
Gross-ery shopping



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