The first time I saw this, I mis-read it as “Lemmy”, which – as you will see – would be double plus epic. But it’s still pretty good.
Lenny is a software troll-bot designed to waste telemarketer trolls’ time. In principle, it’s a great deal of fun but the end-game with systems like this is the end of usefulness of a service: both sides are willing to turn their phone service into useless crap. I admit I was tempted to set something like this up (except mine would be a drunk rock’n’roll drummer who thought the caller was trying to return a bass kit that had gotten left at a hotel in New Jersey) but then I realized it’d be easier to just shut my land line off completely or try to get the phone company to re-route it to 867-5309.
I think the value of Lenny is the performance. Whoever did the voice bits really did a good job. I’d rather hear what John Cleese could have done with it, were he still funny, but the Lenny bot is good stuff. [Lenny]
It vaguely reminds me of the first “SimBush” app for Apple laptops (c.1992) which hashed around a bunch of Bush quotes using Markov chains so it sounded like Bush just droning on and on about something drony. Nowadays, I suspect the window for that particular kind of humor has slammed shut; it just isn’t funny any more.
What is odd about the Lenny scripts is that they return the land line to usefulness, as entertainment. Now, instead of being pointlessly annoyed by telemarkers, you can have a schadenfreude-filled laugh in return. Derrida and Eco would be rolling in the aisles. From meaningful to meaningless to a source of laughter in less than 40 years; let’s hear it for telephone technology!
Seriously, though: my land-line is just not worth having. Think of all the creativity and work that went into building the phone grid, and it has been reduced to garbage in the name of scattergun capitalism. The same can be said for E-mail. When I first started using E-mail seriously, I was manager of UUCP node ‘gouldsd’ (which fed from decuac – Digital Equipment Corp) so decuac!gouldsd!mjr was me. The links were 2400baud and we could carry on useful conversations that were about 99% reliable. Since then, billions of dollars and generations of tech have been thrown at email and thanks to spam filtering and cloud email services sometimes crashing and burning, it’s 99% reliable, instantaneous, and 80% of the internet backbone traffic is spam. That estimate may be wrong; that was from years ago. Now it’s probably 30% lolcats, 30% spam, and 40% porn with a soupçon of Russian propaganda or NSA malware. The garbage has made email less useful to me, too – I used to check my email every 10 minutes all day, and when I was CEO at a startup I was getting 1200-2000 action-required emails a day. Now, I check my email every 2-3 days and there are 3 or 4 messages worth reading. A typical email download for me is about 190 messages/day and my spam filter kills 180 of them and I never see them.
Unless it’s from Lenny. I’ve always got time to hear from that guy.
That got me thinking. It ought to be pretty plausible to make fake identities using AI-generated faces and AI-generated profiles that occasionally make AI-generated comments and cluster into AI-generated special interest groups and AI-generated private message chatter about AI-generated topics including terrorism and drug-dealing and blowing up corporate capitalism. The AI-generated characters would, naturally, click through to the AI-generated marketing pieces which would cause facebook or google to send an actual bill for actual money to someone. If you want to see facebook crash and burn, accept that it’s a fountain of bullshit and crack the bullshit valve into the “wide open” position. (i.e.: a dismbiguation cost attack [cyberinsurgency])