Is Technology Getting Too Complex?

I had an appointment with my doctor this afternoon. A short chat about herself’s medication. When I arrived, reception could find no trace of an appointment – neither present, past or future. Clearly, the appointment had not been entered into the computer, even though the person I spoke to on the phone when I made the appointment must have been looking at the computer when I made the appointment in order to give me a date and time. Am I going insane? Did I dream that I made that appointment? Hardly. I made a note at the time and created a ‘sticky note’ to remind me.

So what went wrong? You would think that entering a name and address in a diary on a specific day and time would be simplicity itself, but I cannot help but think that there are all sorts of extra bits of info which could be entered, if required. I suppose that it is easy in those circumstances to forget to press ‘enter’ or ‘done’ or whatever.

A similar thing happened with BT. We decided to move back to BT to take advantage of its optic fibre internet speed connection via its Infinity product. I filled in a very complicated on line form. One obvious requirement was my land line phone number. My number has only five digits after the area code. The form refused to accept only five digits and demanded six digits. I inserted a 0 in front of the five digits, and the number was accepted. Also, somehow or other, our street name was repeated in the address field. Later, I called BT and told them about the five digits problem, and the respondent told me that he had corrected it. You would think that BT would know that there are five digit numbers. But I hadn’t noticed the repetition of the street name at the time. Why should it matter anyway? I received confirmation of the order with info that it would take around three weeks. After about two weeks, I tried to ‘track’ my order. I got a message saying that my email address was wrong. I left it a few more days, and still got that message. I then rang BT.

After much thrutching about, I was informed that the ‘wrong’ address had caused automatic cancellation of the order. It appears that their ‘system’ automatically checks addresses and cancels orders which have a ‘wrong’ address. Bully for them, but not much help for me. Reordering took another half an hour on the phone. But we are set up for the changes to occur on 21st/22nd May. I am a patient man.

I cannot help but think that only the people who write the programs really know what their programs do. Only they know whether their programs are easy to hack or not. The probability is that even they do not know.

I wonder how far these faults extend? How reliable are the computer programs which academics use? How is it that their projections of the success of some smoker persecution initiative always turn out to be rubbish? What programmer gleefully wrote a bit of code which ALWAYS projected success? It isn’t really ‘junk in, junk out’. It is manipulation of algorithms, aka equations.

I was reading today a rather long post about what is going on in the White House in the USA:

http://www.4liberty.org.uk/2018/05/13/trumps-reshuffle-the-mcmaster-chronicles-part-4/

There are three previous reports, equally messy. They describe the comings and goings of Trump’s appointments to various posts in his administration. The whole thing reads as though EVERYONE in the US Gov is engaged in one sort of intrigue or another. You get the impression that policies are devised to make a ‘minister’/politician look good, regardless of the mayhem which might result.

How does anyone know what is REAL!? As regards what is REAL, only facts can tell you. Opinions and projections are useless. A local authority, Blackburn and Darwen, hired a security type company to police litter louts and dog poo. That company deliberately targeted smokers who might toss away a filter tip. The vast majority of fines issued were to smokers. A filter tip is as nothing compared with a pile of dog poo or a drinks can. If it was left alone, it would be washed down the drains or would rot away because it is made from wood fibre. A vicious anti-smoker councillor justified that deliberate persecution of smokers by claiming that the cleanliness of the streets was massively important to residents. You would think that there were still horses dragging carts around and depositing wonderful manure all over the roads. Even if it were true that residents want the streets to be spotless, that would not justify deliberately persecuting smokers. Spotless streets need lots of cleaners.

Finally, I suspect that politicians rely to much on dodgy, computer produced projections based upon ‘focus groups’.

God help us all.

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2 Responses to “Is Technology Getting Too Complex?”

  1. Some French bloke Says:

    “The movement of technological innovation has a long history, and is a constituent of capitalist society, sometimes described as industrial or post-industrial. But since its most recent acceleration (in the aftermath of the Second World War) it has greatly reinforced spectacular authority, by completely surrendering everybody to the ensemble of specialists, to their calculations and their judgments, which always depend on their calculations”. (Guy Debord)

    • junican Says:

      I think that is very true. Prior to the invention of radio and the telephone, communication was slow and cumbersome, and hard to share. Propaganda was far more difficult to propagate. Now, a small ‘elite’ can constantly bash our ears and eyes with propaganda. I think that the ease of communication since WW2 has benefited ‘The Elite’ far more that ordinary people until the arrival of social media.

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