Bob: Sweet! What's the number?
Today, some telemarketing and social research firms use similar programs (usually working from a digital phone book) to reach residential numbers in search of sales or social information. Also, on rare occasions, people engaged in social engineering have used a form of this process to explore "gaps" in corporate phone listings to discover (and identify the owners of) unlisted numbers.
This term directly inspired the term wardriving, due to similarities between the two practices: both return unpredictable results, both require real-world travel, and both activities are done for rather similar reasons. On the other hand, while wardriving is inherently focused on and limited to a specific geographic area, wardialing is a prototypical bruteforce process, much like password cracking, and can theoretically be achieved from any location with a dial tone.
The wardialer is dead. Long live the wardriver.
An identical technique was sometimes used to get the first call for prizes in radio "call-in" shows, thus leading to the adoption of random "fifth caller," "seventeenth caller" etc. by radio stations to circumvent this practice.