I repeat, will the real Ashley Cooper please stand up?
We're gonna have a problem here...
So to set the scene here; we are presently in the back end of 2021 nearly two entire years since Coronavirus ran through the world like high scoring game of Plague Inc. We have changed the way we think, live and work in the modern world, joined up with a healthy serving of cancelled in person events, meetings, and a social life that introverts love, and extroverts hate.
Now what if i told you this Ashley Cooper just can't stand up, and it isn't the Ashley Cooper we all know and interact with in the MSP Communities? Bad choice of naming there for the first mail shot.
With a gem of a solution to engaging with partners and leads, and the promises of opportunities and personalised assistance from Ashley. Conversica generates some pretty realistic, and human content in a form that supposedly engages with the customer.
Jason Slagle broke this apart publicly on the MSP subreddit, along with the MSPGeek community on slack. It turns out that yes - the name, the job history, the entire education of this person is faked and backed up with a fake history on LinkedIn. Others have already broken this down on reddit or blogs, and the profile has since been taken down.
I'm going to take a slightly different take than focusing on the lengths they've went to create the backstory for this fake member of staff. This is a corporate decision and process targeting humans, at the most personal layer of all - relationships.
With a complex melting pot of isolation related changes to mental health and social connections over the last two years - the impact has been immense to all our lives both personally and professionally. We are all working through it in different ways, and yearning to be back in a more normal world - if such a place is now possible.
It took me sleeping on the intricacies of what we witnessed when crossing these boundaries for marketing and sales. Catfishing:
the process of luring someone into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona.
Professional catfishing by a corporate entity, with a healthy dose of gaslighting to fuel the fires of doubt into our social constructs via a fake, and crafted online persona.
As humans we are currently driving further into a tech enabled, and remote world. Whilst we strive to build relationships, a faceless corporation is catfishing our social networks and mailboxes with AI crafted to impersonate those core, and key relationships we build with others.
The lack of thought, and understanding of the impact such an approach has on the relationship between us has been widely dismissed, and replaced with a profit driven model of engagement. This force multiplier has been applied into our world without our consent, and hidden behind layers of complex half-truths.
Unfortunately we are yet to have any realistic answer or value:
- What does this do for us as clients?
- What does this replace?
- Why was such an extensive back story with fake persona created?
- Why did you not consult partners?
- How do you justify the effort that went into this, rather than the product?
However. We have to go beyond this.
This isn't just catfishing.
Whilst I can appreciate the engagement, and transparency of Amy - especially by jumping into the frying pan within the community. There are still some questionable aspects to the underlying organisational culture and behaviour that allows this infrastructure and process to be built and utilised without due care and attention.
FSociety - signing off with one thought for the evening
Growing sales, and catphishing for fun and profit. Until you get caught.