AUTOMATED AND FLAWED

March 16 , 2022 /

AUTOMATED AND FLAWED

Recent experiences with a variety of corporate customer service operations have convinced me that we have been marginalized and dehumanized by the move to an impersonal, inhumane and mechanized system.  Not only does this process move us further away from real, personal connections but it also confirms that we are identified not as human beings but as account numbers who need to have usernames and passwords in order to do the work that was once done by the employees of said corporations.  Beyond cost cutting and the unwillingness of corporations to spend their time dealing with the needs of customers, I wondered what else has happened that has taken us to this level of dehumanization.

I asked when the shift from personal to impersonal happened since it was probably not an overnight phenomenon. One thoughtful respondent said it happened with the advent of Google and YouTube.  I believe it also exploded exponentially with the prevalence of online personal computer access to sources for information, alterations and dissemination.  Then the hackers came, identity theft became a problem, security platforms had to be installed and updated continually as did operating systems in not so smart phones and in both Macs and PC software.  Sure enough, I checked and I was running on Monterey 12.2.1 and now 12.3 is available. Although I have automatic updates checked, it didn’t, so I will.  Who thought we would buy a telephone from a computer company?  Steve Jobs, that’s who.

Having been hacked recently and debit and credit cards compromised, both of which had to be frozen and then replaced as did a bank checking account, we spent two mornings dealing with banks and card companies and their customer service, fraud and management teams and personnel.  These people are good employees trying to be helpful and they all work within their level of limitations. Most of the people I spoke with admit that this problem has exploded in the past few years. Financial service and communications companies have entire departments dedicated to dealing with fraud. Millions of these cases do not reach the FTC which filed the following report: There were 4.8 million identity theft and credit card fraud reports to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2020, resulting in a $4.5 Billion total loss.

There are things we can do go enhance security such as changing passwords frequently, using trusted antivirus and anti-malware apps, using voice and finger print identification, not opening anything suspicious or unrecognized and sending the spoof or phish notice to the legitimate companies’ fraud detection team.

I have learned how to navigate around some of the company systems but why should I spend my time doing their work?  Imagine my sending them a bill for my time!  I am going to test an experimental strategy and see what happens.  With one or two selected pilot companies, I will tell them that I no longer have a computer or a wireless phone.  I will only do my business with them via snail mail and a telephone land line.  This is how I will or will not maintain my status as a customer.  As an aside, I tried to connect with Century Link who supplies our Internet service and they could not respond because their automated system isn’t working – a communications company that can’t communicate except to say it’s broken?  Message was to call back later.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability of a computer or a robot controlled by a computer to do tasks that are usually done by humans because they require human intelligence and discernment. With increased automation we are often regarded as human automatons, people who act in a monotonous, routine manner, without active intelligence. Artificial is exactly that, and that’s why human intelligence, discernment, judgment and authentic person to person connection is a preferred way to solve problems, make things happen and get the desired results.

“There’s more than one way to bake a cake, cook an egg or peel an orange”.

 

 

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