This Chatbot Lets You Torture Robocallers and Telemarketers

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Man gets revenge on telemarketer
ShotPrime Studio /

After years of being hounded by telemarketers, you now can turn the tables with the help of artificial intelligence.

A new service called Jolly Roger uses AI-powered chatbots to frustrate telemarketers by having a virtual human voice answer the call and act in ways that likely drive the telemarketer to distraction.

Created by Roger Anderson of Monrovia, California, Jolly Roger uses a selection of human-sounding voices to hem, haw and generally act a little confused.

According to The Wall Street Journal:

“After answering the phone, Jolly Roger keeps callers engaged with preset expressions from chatbots, such as ‘There’s a bee on my arm, but keep talking.’ Chatbots also grunt or say ‘uh-huh’ to keep things going.”

Eventually, GPT-4 — the AI model that powers Jolly Roger — figures out what the telemarketer is asking for and responds with aimless chit-chat through a voice cloner.

The voice sounds convincing enough to keep telemarketers on the line until they finally hang up — likely feeling a degree of frustration that anyone who has received an unwanted call can relate to.

The software is sophisticated enough that it can keep the conversations going for a while. The Wall Street Journal describes a call that lasts six minutes and 27 seconds.

Jolly Roger employs a variety of voices to enact its revenge on telemarketers. For example, Anderson’s friend and Vermont dairy farmer Sid Berkson’s voice was cloned for one of the virtual voices, dubbed “Whitebeard.”

If you prefer, you can also choose a female voice named Salty Sally — who sounds like a harried mother — or Whiskey Jack, who struggles to remain focused on the topic at hand.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a few thousand people subscribe to Jolly Roger for $24.99 a year. You can do so, too, at the Jolly Roger Telephone Co. website is you wish. A free 30-day trial is available.

For more on keeping robocallers at bay, check out “8 Easy Ways You Can Stop Robocalls.”

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