Recently I was watching an episode of The Monkees where Peter applies for a job at a toy company. The first part of the application process; being interviewed by a computer.
Moments later we see a dejected Peter saying something along the lines of, “Why did I have to talk to a computer?”
Mike outsmarting the computer for Peter.
This is something I’ve heard my grandparents, parents and many family members complain about since I was a teenager. Most people want to talk to another human being, say their piece and be heard. I thought the automated computer system service was something that was recently invoked, apparently not.
More often than not people will call a service, whether it be for cable, water, or electric. You’re greeted on the other end of the line with an automated voice. The voice either mishears you, or it has a jumble of angering generic push buttons where you have to figure out what your concern is listed under.
When and why did this start?
Having been in customer service, I realize there are a multitude of reasons for possibly starting this way of business. Maybe it’s to protect the workers? Maybe they figured if they did an automated system, it would free up employees to handle the real nitty gritty problems? Maybe this would leave the frequently asked questions for the computer to take care of?
If the system is there to be a filter or screening system for employees I understand. However there is always another side to this. Recently my parents received a call from an automated political campaign. The computer was asking them to push buttons as to which candidate out of two they would pick. (There were several scenarios.)
The choices on the automated system could be made up if you didn’t care. The automated system in this instance was set up to convenience campaigners and pollsters, but really, are they getting an honest answer from everyone?
Surely they don’t take into account squirrelly people like me who might give random answers to throw it off. In fact, because there are frequent responders on this blog, I know there is more than one squirrelly quirky girl/guy out there.
My question boils down to this, are automated machines hurting or helping us? They are supposed to free us from human error, but at the same time, humans are the ones who built them. What are your thoughts?