Geeks And Girls.
An article in yesterday's Financial Times by Meg Carter explained how Vodafone Australia are designing computer-generated agents to sound more life-like, so that a "human" touch can replace the hated push-button menus faced by so many customers in their dealings with call centres.
I suppose it might be marginally less irritating and a move in the right direction. But the automation of any aspect of customer service always smacks of false economy to me and a failure to know your user. It's a suspicion that was not alleviated by the following exhortation of the human-ness of the Lara character being used and how she reflects Vodafone Australia's brand values,
"She's 26, single, lives in Sydney, has a belly button (my italics) and drives a VW Beetle."
Further evidence that geeks and female anatomy are relative strangers.