Author Topic: Computers Don't Argue  (Read 449 times)

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Online EC

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Computers Don't Argue
« on: December 03, 2013, 03:43:28 AM »
A exclusive.

By EC.

The thread title is the title of an undeservedly unknown story by Gordon R. Dickson. For those who are too busy to hit the link and read the story, I say stop being pathetic and do so. It takes literally five minutes and is well worth your time.

Remember what we were promised? Computers would make work easier, error free and productivity would skyrocket. Of course, no one predicted LOLcats and youtube siphoning off our attention, but no futurist is perfect. If they were, they'd have all the monies.

So, this morning, two separate stories come out about computer glitches. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is blaming a computer glitch for locking customers out of their own accounts for hours. Npower, the second largest utility company in the UK, has trotted out the same excuse for billing errors to customers. And of course, the ongoing fiasco with Obamacare is down to computer problems, not poor design and ever poorer legislation.

You can not argue with a computer. You can't plead with it, appeal to its humanity, present any extenuating circumstances, and they are never, ever, wrong. The best you can do on a personal level is walk into a store to buy a new one, the shattered remnants of your last monitor gripping your wrist.

So far, so Luddite. It's just some old dude that doesn't get computers, right?

Damned right I am Luddite. Worked with the damned things for long enough and been on the internet pretty much since it was invented as a commercial entity. 20 years, 30 computers, each more complex and fault prone than the generation before. The small thing in your pocket right now has more processing power than NASA had to put a man on the moon. Is it a bad thing? In and of itself, no. It's a tool and nothing more.

It is a tool. Not some magical oracle. Yet they are treated so, constantly.
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Offline rangerrebew

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Re: Computers Don't Argue
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2013, 07:31:25 AM »
Good morning, my friend. :seeya:  It also confirms the old saw, garbage in garbage out.  It is only as accurate as the information, or disinformation, it is fed.
There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.
Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics. There must be a positive passion for the public good, the public interest, honour, power and glory, established in the minds of the people, or there can be no republican government, nor any real liberty: and this public passion must be superior to all private passions. John Adams

Offline massadvj

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Re: Computers Don't Argue
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2013, 08:11:01 AM »
When I saw the headline, I thought you were going to recommend that I marry my computer.

I disagree with you that each generation is more fault-prone.  I started out with a Radio Shack TRS80 in 1981, and have been using computers since.  I remember in the 1990's when a kid who worked the university help desk had a better chance of getting his laundry done for him than the football team's starting quarterback.  Computers broke down so often back then that the geek was king of the jungle, and knew it.  It was not pretty.

Today I probably own more than a dozen computers, if you count the old PC's rusting in the basement.  Between my wife and I we have nine devices in regular service, including the two I use in my home business.  I can't remember the last time I had to call in a geek to fix a problem.  Things do occasionally go awry, but the fix is much easier these days, and the glitches are far less frequent.

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Online andy58-in-nh

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Re: Computers Don't Argue
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2013, 04:11:31 PM »
I think that was a nice little cautionary tale about the dangers of combining inflexible technology with an unyielding and unresponsive bureaucracy.

And yet America has now embarked upon that very course, and in a very big way.

See you on Death (Panel) Row!  :0001:
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Offline Oceander

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Re: Computers Don't Argue
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2013, 11:45:58 PM »
Good morning, my friend. :seeya:  It also confirms the old saw, garbage in garbage out.  It is only as accurate as the information, or disinformation, it is fed.

And also as well-written, or bug-infested, as the code it runs - as the Obamacare website debacle demonstrates.

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