Brow Beat

Congratulations! John Oliver Explains Those Irritating Robocalls From Similar Phone Numbers.

Just last week, John Oliver taught a bunch of children about automation, how machines are taking over jobs that were once performed by humans. He failed to mention how robots have taken over the phone lines, too—until now, that is. While the Last Week Tonight host points out that robocalls can be useful when it comes to school closings and prescription reminders, “the vast majority of them vary from the irritating to the outright illegal.”

The tactics to get you to answer your phone and give up your personal information have grown more sophisticated. Maybe you’ve already encountered spoofing, which tricks your caller ID into believing the caller is in your area or even someone you already know. Fortunately for us, Oliver has a plan to get the Federal Communications Commission to take a more aggressive stand against robocalls. Unfortunately for officials like Ajit Pai, it involves thinking like a robocaller (and bagpipe music).