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.