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Putting Telemarketers on Hold Using AI with Roger Anderson (Episode #188)

In a world where unsolicited phone calls have become a nuisance for many, Roger Anderson stands out as a pioneer in fighting back against telemarketing. He has devised a clever and entertaining way to respond to these unwanted calls: The Jolly Roger Phone Company.



About Our Guest:

Telemarketing calls plague us all these days, interrupting our daily routines and invading our privacy— even changing the way we interact with incoming phone calls in general. I can think of three calls that changed the Goodness Exchange for the better, and they were all calls from strange numbers that I know I would not have answered today. 

It’s like the boy who cried wolf has your contact information; who knows what good things we are all missing now that we don’t answer any calls with numbers we don’t recognize?

Enter: Telecommunications Engineer Roger Anderson

Telecommunications expert Roger Anderson has taken a stand against this nuisance with his groundbreaking creation: the Jolly Roger Telephone Company. Developed to engage telemarketers in humorous and time-consuming conversations, the Jolly Roger Telephone Company may now be the ONLY way to actually get these organizations to take you off their lists. 

While the original version of the company used pre-recorded responses to interact with telemarketers, they have now engaged the power of ChatGPT to produce unique AI bots with all kinds of different personalities—from bored fourteen-year-old to forgetful grandpa. (You can even record your voice to make your own bot, and then allow others to use it too!)

The Jolly Roger bots operate by mimicking human interaction, engaging telemarketers in amusing and often nonsensical conversations. By wasting their time with playful banter and clever retorts, your bot can prevent telemarketers and scammers alike from reaching dozens of potential victims—and if it keeps them on the phone long enough, it may also be enough cause for their supervisor to finally lose your number.

Jolly Roger’s Crew of AI Bots Entertain and Educate

One of the key features of the Jolly Roger Telephone Company is its adaptability to different scenarios. The bots utilize advanced algorithms to analyze speech patterns and adjust their responses accordingly, making each interaction feel genuine and unpredictable. This state-of-the art technology has gained widespread acclaim, and Andreson has even given a TEDx Talk, and featured in Shark Tank Season 10.

During his TEDx Talk, Anderson showcased recordings of interactions between some of the Jolly Roger bots and telemarketers, eliciting laughter from the audience with each absurd exchange. They’re never mean or abusive—just funny and a little bit kooky. They even send you a recording of the call after it’s over, so you can hear what your bot got up to.

Beyond its entertainment value, the Jolly Roger Telephone Company serves a practical purpose in exposing telemarketing scams, and educating the public about their tactics. By engaging telemarketers in prolonged conversations, and then sending recordings back for the intended recipient to analyze themselves, the bots shed light on the deceptive practices employed by these callers—which can help people learn to recognize and avoid potential scams. The company also keeps a running list of known and suspected scammers, spammers, and telemarketers, and it is always updating it to keep the public safe.

A Future Without Spam Calls?

At the heart of Anderson’s creation is a desire to reclaim control over his phone, and to disrupt the telemarketing industry’s tactics while protecting consumers from unwanted solicitation. He envisions a future where individuals can once again answer their phones without hearing a sales pitch, or clean out their voicemail without finding twelve identical messages about the expired warranty on a car they don’t own.

In a world inundated with spam calls, the Jolly Roger Telephone Company offers a refreshing and entertaining solution to the problem of telemarketing. Through humor and ingenuity, Anderson has not only provided relief to countless individuals, but has also sparked a larger conversation about privacy rights and consumer protection in the digital age.

As technology continues to evolve, so too will the methods employed by telemarketers. However, with innovators like Roger Anderson leading the charge, consumers can rest assured that they have allies in the fight against unwanted calls. The Jolly Roger Telephone Company, with its growing ragtag crew of bots, stands as a testament to the power of creativity and determination in addressing everyday annoyances, and reshaping the way we interact with technology.

References Mentioned:


  • 00:00 – Intro & Welcome
  • 03:33 – Origin of Jolly Roger Telephone Co.
  • 10:22 – How Jolly Roger Bots Work
  • 15:20 – How Telemarketing Works
  • 28:06 – Break
  • 30:21 – Shark Tank Story
  • 35:33 – Abusive Telemarketers
  • 38:06 – Victims of Telemarketing Scams
  • 43:08 – You Can Help Thousands with Jolly Roger
  • 47:00 – Closing

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