AI Bot pranks Telemarketers

- - experiment

“Hanging up on annoying telemarketers is the easiest way to deal with them, but that just sends their autodialers onto the next unfortunate victim. Roger Anderson decided that telemarketers deserved a crueler fate, so he programmed an artificially intelligent bot that keeps them on the line for as long as possible.

Anderson, who works in the telecom industry and has a better understanding of how telemarketing call-in techniques work than most, first created a call-answering robot that tricked autodialers into thinking there was an actual person answering the phone. So instead of the machine automatically hanging up after ten seconds, a simple pre-recorded “hello?, hello?” message would have the call sent to a telemarketer who would waste a few precious moments until they realized there really wasn’t anyone there.”

Read More

Every Frame a Painting

- - film

From Every Frame a Painting

“Can movement tell a story? Sure, if you’re as gifted as Akira Kurosawa. More than any other filmmaker, he had an innate understanding of movement and how to capture it onscreen. Join me today in studying the master, possibly the greatest composer of motion in film history.”

Object Obsessions: Sherlock Holmes and the Internet of Things

- - experiment

This past fall we ran a massive experiment entitled Sherlock Holmes & the Internet of Things. It marked the first prototype to be released by the Columbia Digital Storytelling Lab. Over 1,000 collaborators from 60+ countries staged 70+ events around the world. At the center of the experience was the pilot of a MOOC with less than 300 participants. The following is a reflection of the experience from Sancha de Burca a collaborator from the UK.


“Warning: Artificially increasing the subjective value of objects will most likely lead to unintended consequences.” Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn

“Over the last couple of months I have been involved in a happening from Columbia University about interactive story telling. The name of it is Sherlock Holmes and the Internet of Things. The happening culminates at the end of October in a few global interactive crime scenes at which participants have to figure out the story from connected or adapted objects. These objects are just ordinary things that have been “enchanted” with digital manipulation to make them other than the sum of their parts. The whole thing is a giant experiment in collaboration and imagination and nobody yet knows how it will turn out or what stories the live action crime-solving “detectives” will evolve. My role, as part of one of the many small, international online teams, is to think like the “killer”; but one who wants to leave clues and perhaps red herrings…!

We started our explorations with a game in which we marked out with tape or chalk a body from an imaginary crime scene. The more odd or picturesque the scene we made the better this worked…”

Read More