Author Topic: Computers Don't Argue  (Read 580 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline EC

  • Shanghaied Editor
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 23,836
  • Cats rule. Dogs drool.
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.
The universe doesn't hate you. Unless your name is Tsutomu Yamaguchi

Avatar courtesy of Oceander

I've got a website now: Smoke and Ink

Offline rangerrebew

  • America defending Veteran
  • TBR Contributor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 82,261
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.
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim tribute to patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness -- these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. . . . reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles."
George Washington

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."
Benjamin Franklin

Offline massadvj

  • Editorial Advisor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12,257
    • Auktion Online
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.

"She only coughs when she lies."

Offline andy58-in-nh

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 6,485
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:
Liberalism isn't really about making the world a better place. It's about reassuring the elites that they are good people for wanting to rule over it.

Offline Oceander

  • Technical
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 48,959
  • TBR Illuminati
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.

Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo