Monday, January 6, 2014

What To Do When Technology Fails You

We expect technology to work. We expect it never to fail us. Frustration levels rise when the page we opened in Safari is taking too long to load. We can't understand why we are at a conference with bad WIFI that is preventing us  from tweeting our opinions to the rest of the world. Ten years ago a Smartphone was not a necessity and today we panic if the battery is draining too quickly and our charger is nowhere to be found. A rash of expletives fall out of our mouths when we are trying to complete a transaction on line and have a bad user experience.

We don't just expect technology to work.  We demand it. In fact many of us think it's smarter than we are. 

Humans can and do make mistakes. But not technology. 

Or so we think.

We forget that it is humans who create the technology.  And it will always be humans who need to oversee their creations.

Case in point. The day after Christmas Delta Airlines experienced a glitch in their systems that offered crazy low fares - $6.99 round trip to Hawaii. The news of the offers spread like wildfire on the social networks while humans intervened to correct the mistake. The system did not know it made an error. The humans at the other end are the ones who found out and the ones who fixed it. 

This kind of stuff happens. It will always happen. No matter how advanced artificial intelligence might get - it will break down. And what do you do when it happens to you?

In the case of Delta they did the right thing. Once they caught it they shut down the site until it was corrected. And because it was their error,  they honored the bargain fares. 

Which proves my point :

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