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It's funny.  Laugh. Communications

Jerk-O-Meter to Meter Jerks 235

prostoalex writes "The Jerk-o-Meter from MIT will analyze voice patterns of phone conversations and display a relative value of jerkiness factor on the scale of 0 to 100. For now, the Jerk-O-Meter is set up to monitor the user's end of the conversation. If his attention is straying, a message pops up on the phone that warns, 'Don't be a jerk!' or 'Be a little nicer now.' A score closer to 100 percent would prompt, 'Wow, you're a smooth talker.'"
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Jerk-O-Meter to Meter Jerks

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  • "Hello, Grandma?"
    [pause]
    [pause]
    "Eh? Who's this?"
    Jerk-o-Meter: "Don't be a jerk!"
    [pause]
    Click!

    or...

    "Hello, Mom?"
    "Hi Honey, how've you been... Let me tell you about the potato salad I made yesterday for the picnic, it was absolutely deli.."
    Jerk-o-Meter: "Wow, you're a smooth talker."
    [pause]
    "Smartass!"
    Click!

    • Re:Calling home (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This technology is annoying because some researcher in some lab somewhere cooks up their perfect "metric" for what nice talk is, then it gets enforced on the rest of us, despite massive variation in speech patterns and types.

      These "autocorrections" will be the death of diversity as anyone who uses UK or Australian english will know full-well the annoyance of spell checkers telling them their spelling is "wrong" and telling them to use the american ones.
      • Indeed. I'm sure pointy-haired middle-management types will be ecstatic about this technology as yet another way to turn a qualitative characteristic into quantitative data, so they can pretend to be doing something useful by plugging numbers into a spreadsheet and enforcing metrics instead of actually having to use their own judgement to determine whether their employees are meeting qualitative goals like politeness and good telephone manners.
        • Re:Calling home (Score:3, Insightful)

          Of course, if the software only evaluates voice patterns, you'll just have to learn to say everything with an extraordinarily nice voice. That is, you can still say "you're an incompetent idiot", you just have to say it in the same tone you would normally use for "you're a really smart person".
          • Of course, if the software only evaluates voice patterns, you'll just have to learn to say everything with an extraordinarily nice voice. That is, you can still say "you're an incompetent idiot", you just have to say it in the same tone you would normally use for "you're a really smart person".

            Yep. Just like talking to a cat.

      • Or, heaven forbid, you either have a name it autocorrects or send e-mail to someone it does.

        In my last job the secretary that handled my HR section of stuff was named "Dorsey", it constantly changed her name to "Horsey" - and considering she was hands down the best secretary I've ever dealt with this was not a good thing. On my personal machines this was no big deal, I had the feature turned off, but if I ever used someone else's it tended to do so. I don't know how many of mine got through with "Horsey" on
        • Re:Calling home (Score:2, Insightful)

          Meanwhile, that post was spelled perfectly, as far as I can tell.
          • Re:Calling home (Score:3, Insightful)

            by entrylevel ( 559061 )
            Safari has a spell checker built in and one is available for Firefox as an extension, so "Don't be a jerk!"
          • 'grammer'? 'embarassing' vs 'embarrasing'?

            It also has run-on sentences, missing apostrophes, spurious prepositions ('way off from'), and many missing commas, parentheses and/or dashes.

            Still, it scores higher than most Slashdot posts in both format AND content, so I'm not complaining...

        • Not trying to be flamebait here, but I just don't get dyslexia. I mean, you're an engineer, you need to be able to see and recognise complex specifications and long strings of numbers with extreme accuracy. What is so different from normal language use? See the string of letters, recognise them individually, and compare them to the known string mentally. Where's the problem?

          Don't get me wrong, I'm no stranger to communications problems, having a semi serious speech impediment myself (which hasn't stopped

          • Re:Calling home (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Legion303 ( 97901 ) on Friday August 12, 2005 @07:02AM (#13302561) Homepage
            "I just don't get dyslexia. I mean, you're an engineer, you need to be able to see and recognise complex specifications and long strings of numbers with extreme accuracy. What is so different from normal language use?"

            That's kind of like asking someone with Down's Syndrome why he doesn't talk like most people. Dyslexia is a genetic and neurobiological problem. I have it myself, which is lots of fun when I'm on IRC, because when I type "teh" it's not because I'm trying to be funny.

            I've trained myself to proofread everything I write very carefully (but like the OP, some things still get through occasionally). Words that I know how to spell (like "occasionally," coincidentally enough) end up being misspelled half the time anyway because of the dyslexia.

            As for how he can do well in engineering with dyslexia...google is your friend. Apparently engineers have a high rate of dyslexia relative to other professions.
          • by tod_miller ( 792541 ) on Friday August 12, 2005 @09:04AM (#13303453) Journal
            Layman terms:

            Both sides of the brain compete to read a word:

            You try and 'read' the letters, and 'look at' the word. Which means many times the people see the words as shapes, not information.

            When writing, we always look back on what we type, even visually (when assembling words).

            The only pertinent parallel I can think of is when a hot chick in a shirt shirt skirt walks into the room, but is showing all her cleavage, and you mind fights itself, as your fovea centralis tries to split and focus all its cones on both her assets.

            Dyslexia is like that, and then having a pop quiz if you noted her name on her id badge.
      • Re:Calling home (Score:1, Insightful)

        by bm_luethke ( 253362 )
        I replied to you once already, but I also thought of another good example after I hit submit.

        I'm from East Tennessee. My family has been here for a few hundred years (my family cemetary is traceable to the late 1700's, before that it is just moss covered rocks for headstones). For all but the last 50 years we were dirt poor (my grandfather on my mothers side literally lived in a cave for a few years after he ran away from his farm. Don't get me wrong, my parent's generation is relativly educated and my gene
        • I have absolutely no knowledge of voice recognition technologies at all, but I'm getting the impression that they're based upon some preset accents, speeds, tones, and\or other stuff. So why can't\hasn't anyone come up with a voice recognition program which starts off completely empty. You have to train it (say a bare minimum, then you can train more to get it more accurate later). It'll get you to say certain letters, words, certain letter combinations (or words with certain letter combinations within them
      • Not to mention that it only works for native speakers. I don't punctuate anyone's speech with anything, even when I talk English. It's just not part of my speech culture. So how is this device going to find out anything?
      • Or, you end up with Gene Wolfe's classic "Loyal to the Group Of 17" story in The Book of the New Sun, where, in a highly constrained language situation, a new language evolves atop.
        Any system implies a work-around.
      • Be a little nicer now.
      • Re:Calling home (Score:2, Informative)

        by MCraigW ( 110179 )
        These "autocorrections" will be the death of diversity as anyone who uses UK or Australian english will know full-well the annoyance of spell checkers telling them their spelling is "wrong" and telling them to use the american ones.

        Hmmmm... Microsoft Windows XP lets you set your language preference, and has thirteen different flavors of English, including "English (Austrailia)", and "English (United Kingdom)". No need to use the "English (United States)" preference.

      • Re:Calling home (Score:4, Informative)

        by Khuffie ( 818093 ) on Friday August 12, 2005 @08:11AM (#13303017) Homepage
        Or, and stay with me here, you can switch the language to UK English? In Office its Tools --> Language --> Set Language. Hit default on UK Englisk, and voila! That's been there since as long as I can remember.
      • These "autocorrections" will be the death of diversity as anyone who uses UK or Australian english will know full-well the annoyance of spell checkers telling them their spelling is "wrong" and telling them to use the american ones.

        While default dictionaries for English are often based on American English, there's nothing stopping you from switching to a British or Australian dictionary. Most word processors ship with those variants, and on *nix a British dictionary is available for the ispell library.

      • Blaming the victim (Score:2, Insightful)

        by DulcetTone ( 601692 )
        Isn't the root cause that dullards are allowed to call people? Why not have a phone that first demands a precis of the reason for the call, and which only permits it to be made when it is convinced there is some merit?

        tone
    • switch to SMS when communicating with my girls then.
      Cause I sure as hell don't care what they're talking about!
  • by speights_pride! ( 898232 ) on Friday August 12, 2005 @02:11AM (#13301665)
    ..I mean I can just ring these special phone numbers and some nice lady on the end tells me "you're nice","You are big" .. there is also something she says about "jerking" ??
  • by FhnuZoag ( 875558 ) on Friday August 12, 2005 @02:11AM (#13301668)
    Think of the usefulness of this thing in monitoring political speeches....
  • 1-900-CALL-MIT

    'nuff said...
  • by atarione ( 601740 ) on Friday August 12, 2005 @02:12AM (#13301671)
    already.... having recently quit a call center job.

    it's bad enough as it is... clueless jerks calling in, monitoring of calls (subjective..monitoring by QA teams) Computer Monitoring... stupid conflicting targets (i.e. Help customers make sure everything they need is taken care or.... oh yeah but do it all within 4minutes..)

    now some stupid software could be sitting about telling me that i'm not freaking excited enough about it.

    god i quit not a momment to soon.... fuck it i say send all the call center jobs to India.
    • What about some smart software that automatically disconnects clueless jerks? :D
    • Well, good. The thought that this software will be used for that just made my day. Because it's bad enough to deal with utterly clueless tech-support people without them being jerks on the phone too.

      Yes, I know, everyone who's ever worked in tech support thinks the're THE God of computing, and know it all. That being able to boot their mom's computer makes them the uber IT sage.

      Who knows, maybe some actually do know their shit. But let me break the nasty news: most don't. While I do have all the respect for
    • Look at the bright side...you can get your call queues down in a jiffy: "You say you're having a problem using your $WHATEVER? Cry me a fucking river." *ding!*
    • At first, I thought "call-center" meant the jerks who call me while I'm in the shower to offer to refiniance my (non-existent) mortgage. But instead, you are one of those wonderful people whom *I* can call 24/7 (or 8/5) when I have a stupid question about a product or service.

      I called last night about a dimmer I had just purchased. Before opening the package, it looked like the leads might be aluminum. A quick call to the Lutron 24/7 tech line and with the product number in hand, a nice man assured me

    • There are still call center jobs?
  • Testing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mattygfunk1 ( 596840 )

    This would be great for getting the percieved "attitude" out of tech support calls.

    Apparently testing it on -1 rated /. comments blew up a prototype. :)

    __
    168+ Funny Adult Video Clips Updated [laughdaily.com]
    • Perhaps it could help the single slashdotters among us find a significant other.
    • This would be great for getting the percieved "attitude" out of tech support calls.

      Yeah right, this system would totally blow for tech support QA.
      Working tech support you're required to be a jerk...the trick is to be a jerk and fix the issue, then you're labled as smart.
  • Really now... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by acceber ( 777067 )
    "Think of a situation where you could actually prevent an argument," he said. "Just having this device can make people more attentive because they know they're being monitored."

    I would actually think this would deter people from speaking to people over the phone. I know that if I was being monitored, I would be less inclined to converse this way. The last thing we need is some random voice telling me to "Be nicer!". How is a device like this supposed to tell the emotions behind people's words, we might

    • by Randseed ( 132501 ) on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:13AM (#13301872)
      And like, omg, this is so useless for females. I mean like, we are born with our very own Jerk-O-Meter's anyway!

      Without a doubt. That's how women manage to keep dating the biggest jerks they can find, and complain to their "nice guy friend" who "they don't think of in that way" because "he's so nice and understanding."

      • Check out this [intellectualwhores.com] humorous little link I found on slashdot awhile ago.
      • That's how women manage to keep dating the biggest jerks they can find, and complain to their "nice guy friend" who "they don't think of in that way" because "he's so nice and understanding."

        That's too true. Whenever I hear a girl moaning "All men are bastards", I often correct them: "All the men that you've picked are bastards". Sometimes they even realise that it might be down to their choice. I'm sure women have an inbuilt masochistic streak in them.
        So - what do men do? Become "bastards".

        • Re:Really now... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by IngramJames ( 205147 ) on Friday August 12, 2005 @08:21AM (#13303079)
          So - what do men do? Become "bastards"

          Actually I think it's more to do with confidence. Women find confident guys attractive. Bastards are confident. They are also very good liars, and have discovered that saying things like "I understand", or "Actually, I do like to go down" are more likely to get them laid rather than "shut up, the football is on" or "no, but you can do me".. which is what it turns into when enough condoms have been used.

          The lesson I drew was to simply be confident and have a laugh. Nothing wrong with being a Nice Guy, and you won't get laid as much (especially when one has to turn down a damn good offer cos the woman is a bit emotional and vulnerable) but not getting laid ain't the end of the world.

          Good friends (female or otherwise) are always a good thing.

          I'm done; my Bloke Club membership will almost certainly be revoked now, and I will unable to discuss football down the pub any more, because I'm obviously really a big girl's blouse.
          • my Bloke Club membership will almost certainly be revoked now, and I will unable to discuss football down the pub any more, because I'm obviously really a big girl's blouse.

            Damn Straight. Now get!
    • by Dogtanian ( 588974 ) on Friday August 12, 2005 @04:12AM (#13302039) Homepage
      The last thing we need is some random voice telling me to "Be nicer!".

      It'd be like having your mother in the background during every phone conversation.
      • I like the idea that someone could hang up on someone else, and when the other person complains, the first one could say "you were being a jerk!" "no I wasn't!" "yes you were -- the PHONE even said so." Which is a jerky thing to say, and which would prompt the other person to hang up.

        Also fun: the idea that someone would need a phone to decide whether or not to hang up. Wonder if one could call, do a lot of "smooth" heavy breathing, and the other person would just stare at the phone monitor waiting for it t
  • by catdevnull ( 531283 ) on Friday August 12, 2005 @02:17AM (#13301692)
    Forget that device, what we really need is Caller IQ!
  • Ooops (Score:2, Funny)

    by thebroken ( 761356 )
    Oh those kinds of jerks..oops... *puts away vasseline*
  • ...for the person who likes to hear himself talk.

    uhhhh hellloooo this izz rico suaaaaveeee.....
    etc. .max
  • Oh man (Score:5, Funny)

    by mcc ( 14761 ) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Friday August 12, 2005 @02:23AM (#13301722) Homepage
    When you're getting advice in social graces from MIT... you know something's wrong

    BA-DUM CHING

    • I would have thought too that those boffins at MIT would know that jerk is the vector that specifies the rate of change of acceleration; the third derivative of displacement with respect to time. ie. ms^-3

      The jerks ;)

      • Well, they can't know much when they say things like:
        "It's an academically proven thing," Madan said of the math behind those measurements. "There are a bunch of academic papers published about this."
        Not just a few, there's a bunch! That's gotta mean something, right?
  • However, the Jerk-O-Meter also could be set up to test the voice on the other end of the line. Then it could send the tester such reports as: "This person is acting like a jerk. Do you want to hang up?"

    "Sorry, I liked you a lot, but now that my phone tells me you're a jerk, I'm not gonna talk to you anymore."
  • A better invention would be the "yawn-o-meter" so they could measure how little I actually care about dumbass useless inventions like the one mentioned in the article. For people who don't have that meter - here's a hint, when I hang up on them, I pretty much don't care what they were talking about.
  • I would like to test it on all those phone sex operators I talk to... errr I mean female friends.
  • the next time I talk to M$ customer support.
  • I need one of these permanently implanted into my sister...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    THey could install one in the Whitehouse but what would be the point, it would always be going off.
  • Obligatory (Score:2, Funny)

    by Linker3000 ( 626634 )
    Still no cure for cancer
  • by zaguar ( 881743 ) on Friday August 12, 2005 @03:40AM (#13301958)
    Nerd: I have invented the Sarcasm-O-Meter!

    Cartoon-Shop-Guy: A Sarcasm-O-Meter? Now that's useful.

    Sarcasm-O-Meter explodes

    Apologies to Matt Groening

    • Lyndsey Nagle: Do I detect a note of sarcasm?

      Frink: (With sarcasm detector) Are you kidding? This baby is off the charts mm-hai.

      ComicBook Guy: A sarcasm detector, that's a real useful invention.
      (Sarcasm detector explodes)
  • by sankyuu ( 847178 ) on Friday August 12, 2005 @05:00AM (#13302172) Journal

    Imagine how the switch on the device would be labeled:

    Jerk - on
    Jerk - oh, nevermind...

    :-)

  • Nice! So i'm talking into my cellphone, which is pressed to my ear. And then a message pops up on my phone. What does it say? No idea, since i can't see the display while using the phone. Ah, handsfree i hear you say. When do you use handsfree? When you are unable to hold your phone usually (in the car, while walking, etc), so you don't look at your phone then either. Or am i missing something here?
    • I believe you have no idea how a call center enviroment are like. I can imagine how those call center managers who are looking for excuse to get more budget will find a device like this amusing.
  • "Wow, you're a smooth talker."

    That's the last damn thing I want my phone telling me when I'm being polite to my mom.
  • Up Next... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Goo.cc ( 687626 ) *
    the Trollometer. It goes off when you claim BSD is dying or that Microsoft is a great company that has earned in current position in the world. Say something about Linux and you get to hear Stallman's voice tell you about how it should be called "GNU/Linux".

    Ahhh, technology.
  • This sounds like a spin-off from some more ambitious AI project.

    I did something similar once. When trying (and failing) to write an agent that could score texts based on whether they were "about the same thing," I ended up with a small application that could tell you whether a discussion in an IRC channel was "focused" or "unfocused" and thus whether what was being discussed was "interesting" or less so. It simply kept track of the size of the set of unique words used compared to the number of people talkin
  • That's because you were boring me!

    Yes, ladies, that means you too! You're not half the scintillating conversationalists you think you are. Just because you're talking doesn't mean you have anything worthwhile to say.

     
  • They should just play his (Philadelphia) famous song, Don't Be a Jerk [kingarthur.com]

  • How about some software to measure the informativeness of Slashdot headlines?
  • Caller: Hi, this is Navin.
    Jerk-O-Meter: You have a special purpose.

    == take 2 ==

    Caller: Hi, this is Comic Book Guy.
    Jerk-O-Meter; This is the jerk-o-meter, you're a jerk.
    Caller: A "Jerk-O-Meter," like that's a REALLY necessary invention.
  • this will be installed at the White House?

    Well, maybe on Karl's phone...After all, it doesn't detect leaks. But, then, Karl doesn't need it, does he?

The means-and-ends moralists, or non-doers, always end up on their ends without any means. -- Saul Alinsky

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