Wrestling With Trend Micro’s Artificial Stupidity Systems

I suppose it was inevitable.

With the increasingly rapid developments in the area of Artificial Intelligence, and the particular service-level needs of IT helpdesk systems, it was only a matter of time before someone, somewhere, developed a reliable Artificial Stupidity system. And it appears that Trend Micro is the forerunner in this deplorable new technological field.

It all started when I discovered that the website of my European writers group Villa Diodati had been classified by Trend Micro as Pornography.

Now admittedly, some of the pages, like the one dedicated to our recipes, or John Olsen’s report on the Villa Diodati 15 workshop, can be classified as food porn. And our description of the hilarious game The Surreal Oracle, while as far removed from adult/mature content as a page can be, does in fact contain the word “porn”. But other that, our pages of workshop descriptions, group information, and author profiles are about as tantalizing as an IKEA catalogue.

So to ensure maximum accessibility for our website, I decided that Trend Micro needed to correct their classification. I quickly discovered that they have a page where webmasters can submit requests to their Automated Classification System. So I went ahead and submitted my request.

The ensuing process took 15 days and 32 emails, and went something like this:

Automated Classification System: “Your website is classified as Pornography.”

Me: “Please reclassify our website as Newsgroups.”

ACS: “Your website is now classified as Adult/Mature – Newsgroups – Pornography. You’re welcome.”

Me: “Please remove the Adult/Mature and Pornography classifications from our website.”

ACS: “Your website is now classified as Adult/Mature – Newsgroups – Pornography. You’re welcome.”

Me: “Your ACS isn’t doing what it’s supposed to. Can a human please look at my case?”

Trend Support Rep: “Hi, it’s me, the Trend Support Rep. Your case has been forwarded to a team. Please reply to this message within 48 hours.”

Me (the same day): “Thanks for forwarding my case.”

Automated Cleanup Bot (after 3 days): “You have not responded in three days. If you do not respond, this case will be closed automatically.”

Me (the same day): “I have responded! This is me, responding again! Please don’t close my case!”

ACB (after 2 more days): “You have not responded in five days. This case has now been closed automatically.”

Me (the same day): “I have responded! This is me, responding again! Please reopen my case and solve my problem!”

TSR: “Hi, it’s me, the Trend Support Rep. Rest assured that your case has really been forwarded to a team. Please reply to this message within 48 hours.”

Me (the same day): “Thanks again for forwarding my case again.”

ACB (after 3 days): “You have not responded in three days. If you do not respond, this case will be closed automatically.”

Me (the same day): “I have responded! This is me, responding again! Please don’t close my case!”

ACB (after 2 more days): “You have not responded in five days. This case has now been closed automatically.”

Me (the same day): “I have responded! This is me, responding again! Please reopen my case and solve my problem!”

TSR: “Hi, it’s me, the Trend Support Rep. I understand that you wish to submit a reclassification request. To submit a reclassification request, please use the Automated Classification System. Please reply to this message within 48 hours.”

Me: “This is not helpful. The ACS has not been able to correctly reclassify my website. That’s why I asked for human assistance. Please intervene.”

TSR: “Hi, it’s me, the Trend Support Rep. Rest assured that your case has really really been forwarded to a team. Please reply to this message within 48 hours.”

Me (the same day): “Thanks, I guess.”

ACB (after 3 days): “You have not responded in three days. If you do not respond, this case will be closed automatically.”

Me (the same day): <capitalized expletives>

TSR: “Hi, it’s me, the Trend Support Rep. Didn’t I tell you I had forwarded your case to a team? Rest assured that your case has really really been forwarded to a team. Please reply to this message within 48 hours.”

Me: <too busy banging my head against the wall to reply>

TSR: “Hi it’s me, the Trend Support Rep. I apologize for any convenience this as caused you. Allow me to continue working on this case. Btw, you reclassification request has already been approved, cool huh? Anything else?”

Me: “Yes. Could you please go sit in a tub of horse manure?”

TSR: “Your request has been forwarded to a team.”

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