Telecommunications: Dial 0 For Robot

Dial 0 For Robot

Next time a stranded friend calls collect, the familiar phrase "Will you accept the charges?" could have a distinctly different sound. Last week AT&T announced that it will replace as many as a third of its 18,000 long-distance operators by 1994 with a computerized voice system. Known as voice-recognition technology, it will handle calls made collect or person-to-person as well as those billed to a third party.

AT&T boasts that the automated system will offer consumers "more choice in how they make long-distance calls." But the Communications Workers of America, which represents telephone operators, begs to differ. "This decision represents a...

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