City Employee Gets in Trouble Again for Talking Like a Robot

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Studio shot of silver robot with arm raised
Photo: Owen Smith Photography/© Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

The saga of this city worker is a gift that keeps on giving: Despite receiving a 20-day suspension last year for mimicking a robot while answering IT calls to the Department of Health’s help desk, employee Ronald Dillon is about to be disciplined once again for talking to customers like a droid. 

Dillon will likely be put on 30-day unpaid leave after he overrode supervisors’ orders to stop impersonating a machine, which the judge who presided over Dillon’s hearing described as "a slow, stilted and monotonous voice."

Dillon was also censured for not responding to customer-service requests and purposefully misdirecting calls. The judge noted that it appeared as if Dillon, who had been working for the Department of Health since 1976 and has an MBA, believed his qualifications made him superior to his job as a help-desk drone, which explained some of his antics. But the last time Dillon was accused of doing his best AI impression, the city worker claimed he was only trying to make his voice "atonal" because his superiors objected to the sound of his regular-person and Brooklyn-accented voice. Here is a clip, thanks to DNAinfo, of Dillon using robot speak and then breaking character, so you can decide which works better — man versus machine.