An app that talks to robots on the phone

One of the most annoying things is talking to robots on the phone. It’s also one of those things you can’t just change.

What if there was an app that would let you go through a company’s robot menus on your phone – before you dial?

When you’re done the app dials the company’s number and presses the right menu options for you while you do something else. Like hang out at the water cooler. When it’s done it tells you so.

If you need to speak to an operator, the phone rings and you can pick it up.

But there’s one more step. Let your phone talk to the operator for you. Let the call center agent step through your interactive voice response robot.

There are a few companies on track to do something like this – Lucyphone has made a robot that calls toll-free numbers and connect them with you when the line is cleared. Gethuman knows all the shortcuts to get to human operators.

Using the elevator will make you miss your meeting

To go through locked doors, office dwellers wear a little piece of electronics every single day; the access badge. They’re also the group most exposed to sedentariness – or, only moving when they have to eat or go to the toilet. So how can the little piece of electronics they wear anyway help them avoid getting sick and fat?

If we build a cheap pedometer into the badge, we can begin controlling access to elevators and returns to the office space after a visit to the bathroom. (When I say cheap, I mean less than a dollar)

Sure, you’ll miss a meeting the first time you find out you’re low on walking up and down a few floors, but maybe the experience will teach you.

Next stage is combining the pedometer with the dishes in the canteen. You pay with calories you’ve earned during the day. Can’t afford your meal? You know where the staircase is.

The system would probably pay for itself in saved medical bills and reduced employee turnover. Maybe the health insurance company would be happy to pay.

Running together, in separate countries

I’ve been wondering why you can’t connect to other runners. Taking a morning run in Chicago, why not race someone taking an evening run in Tokyo? Why not chat with your friend? To simulate actually running together, the smalltalk could fade out the more the listener’s speed deviates from the talker’s.

Not in the same shape? Handicaps, like in golf. Prefer not to talk? Listen to the same music.

You can choose between party mode – talk to all available friends, automatically connecting to the highest ranked friend online, or connecting manually.