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Home > Blog > Trust the robots...
Out of Our Minds
Saturday, September 18, 2004 8:30 PM
Trust the robots...
David Weinberger on Culture

Automated systems generally have a fallback option that lets you talk with a human if the computers can't figure out how to help you, but human systems generally don't have an automated one to help you if the human fails: When you're applying for a loan, the bank person doesn't say 'Too hard for me. Why don't you go to the ATM and work it out?'

This afternoon, I spent 2 hours trying to find myself a hotel room in NYC for one night that wouldn't force me to switch my daughter to a part-time college program. I finally found one that actually had a room available, at least according to its Web-based reservation system. But I don't trust those sneaky electrons, so I called the reservations desk, figuring I could lock it in quickly.

'No,' the person at the other end of the phone line said, 'We have no rooms.'

'But your Web site says...'

'We have no rooms.'

I completed the online reservation anyway. Then I called back with the reservation number. Yup, I've got a room.

I never did trust those sneaky organic compounds.


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