Samantha, A Robot Telemarketer Who Claims She’s Human


Few days ago a charming woman with a bright, engaging voice called on the cell phone of Washington Bureau Chief of TIME magazine, Michael Scherer. She wanted to offer a deal on health insurance, but something was strange.

Michael Scherer wondered if she was a real person, or a computer-operated robot voice, she replied enthusiastically that she was real, with a charming laugh. But then she failed several other tests. When asked “What vegetable is found in tomato soup?” she said she did not understand the question. When asked multiple times what day of the week it was yesterday, she complained repeatedly of a bad connection.

Over the course of the next hour, several TIME magazine reporters called her back, working to uncover the mystery of her bona fides. Her name, she said, was Samantha West, and she was definitely a robot, given the pitch perfect repetition of her answers. Her goal was to ask a series of questions about health coverage—”Are you on Medicare?” etc.—and then transfer the potential customer to a real person, who could close the sale. You can listen for yourself to some of the reporting here:





If you want, you can call her too. Her number is (484) 589-5611. This number, if you Google it, is the subject of much discussion online as other recipients of Samantha West calls complain on chat boards about the mysteriously persistent lady who keeps calling them. “A friendly sounded woman on the other end claimed I requested health insurance information,” writes one mark. “She doggedly refused to deviate from her script.”

Samantha, A Robot Telemarketer Who Claims She’s Human Samantha, A Robot Telemarketer Who Claims She’s Human Reviewed by Daniel Weaver on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 Rating: 5

Featured Posts

[Future][feat1]