Author Topic: 21C Man, part 2: This Is How It Starts.  (Read 196 times)

Doktor Howl

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21C Man, part 2: This Is How It Starts.
« on: September 30, 2014, 02:31:02 pm »
So, I finished moving into the new digs, and I called the various utilities to get them switched over to the new place.  All went well, even the cable company no longer pretends it takes 4-7 business days to turn cable on.  The guy transfers the account, then gives me a number to call to activate the modem, the phone, and the TV.

Later on, though, things went horribly wrong.  First, every time you have to navigate their phone robot tree thingie, it's about 25 minutes, and they're playing some fucking music that sounds like Gershwin wrote the background music for a Japanese video game, and then some bastard dubstepped it.  Occasionally, the song cuts off mid-repeat, and you think "AHA!  A PERSON is going to pick up!"  Then the music starts again.  Once in a while, a robot asks for you account information.  Then the announcements start; you will not talk to a person until you've heard them.  The first one is about power-cycling your router.  If I need new service and have told them so, why would they bother saying that shit?

Then there are 3 techs in a row.  They are named, in order, "Susan","Barbara", and "Leo".  All of them have (Asia) Indian accents you could use to drive rail spikes.  All of them begin by asking for all of my account information.

Susan and I go through the rigamarole on the internet service.  When we are done, I have a connection but no service.  She tries to tell me that we are finished, and that she needs to transfer me to someone about the TV.

"But we're not.  Your system isn't recognizing my account."

"But you have a connection."

"But I don't have your service."

This goes on for a while, and then she announces that she'll just have to send a technician out in a week or so.  Unacceptable.  I tell her to put her supervisor on.  She puts me on hold, where I wait for ten minutes listening to that fucking music, and then the phone disconnects.

Fume a bit, call back in.  Get Barbara, who says "You don't have service because there is an open work order that someone forgot to close.  This requires one of the cable phone guys."  She puts me on hold, and the horrible music begins.  After 8 minutes, the phone hangs up.

Call back, ask for phone service.  Give the account infor 6 times again.  Listen to crappy dubstep Gershwin.  At this point, I am convinced that I am in hell.  Leo eventually comes on the line again.  He needs my account info.  FINE.  He gets the work order closed.  He turns on the modem and the television.  Being the phone guy, of course he is unable to activate my phone.  He will send a technician out to do that, at some random point and can we have someone in the house between Tuesday morning and Friday at 7 PM? 

Finally, I am done for the moment, having drained 2 cell phone and 2 vaporizer batteries to death, frayed my nerves, and burned up FIVE HOURS of my life that I will never, ever get back.

And this is all an illustration of my point:  We have, as a society, reached a complexity level that means we can no longer run things that worked in 1985.  We are - no shit - 16 years from being able to go back to the moon, if we started right now, and we did it in HALF that time in the 1960s, from a presidential speech to Astronauts hitting golf balls in Mare Imbrium.  We are a society of idea men (stuffed full of ideas and enthusiasm, not so much on getting shit done), and nobody holding a wrench.  I've heard this joke before, something about Rome.

And next week, New Flunky and I go to Los Angeles, to the heart of the monster & the place where all this complexity thrives, to attempt to recruit a horrible person to do genius shit for us.  We are driving because we don't feel any desire to deal with LAX.  I will of course write down all the brain damaged shit that entails.

Okay for now,
Dok
"Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown... the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you, the full story of what happened on that fateful day. We are bringing you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony, of the miserable souls, who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places. My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty. Let us reward the innocent. My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of grave robbers from outer space?"

LMNO, PhD (life continues)

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Re: 21C Man, part 2: This Is How It Starts.
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2014, 02:38:44 pm »
Proposed alternate hypothesis: Your media provider has such a complete monopoly that they don't need to provide customer service, and instead find it cheaper to give you the runaround?  What you see as incompetence, they see as a cost-saving solution?
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Doktor Howl

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Re: 21C Man, part 2: This Is How It Starts.
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2014, 02:40:48 pm »
Proposed alternate hypothesis: Your media provider has such a complete monopoly that they don't need to provide customer service, and instead find it cheaper to give you the runaround?  What you see as incompetence, they see as a cost-saving solution?

It is in fact a monopoly (thanks for putting a stop to that, deregulation!).  On my end of town, you can get comcast or deal with a dish.  The only thing that makes me feel better is that every human being I spoke to sounded more frustrated than I was.
"Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown... the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you, the full story of what happened on that fateful day. We are bringing you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony, of the miserable souls, who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places. My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty. Let us reward the innocent. My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of grave robbers from outer space?"

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Re: 21C Man, part 2: This Is How It Starts.
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2014, 01:59:31 am »
Life runs in fractals, and it all seems to change color and shape at the same time, like a kaleidoscope. Right now, civilization is on a trip that's all about wasting as much as possible as fast as possible, because pretty soon everything's gonna run out and there won't be anything left to waste. It's the responsible thing to do.

I'd add my recent experience with the good people of Southwest Airlines, but I don't want to butt in on a good series.
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Re: 21C Man, part 2: This Is How It Starts.
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2014, 02:17:01 am »
This is but one of many reasons that whenever an engineer or some other species of idealistic dreamer says that we're right around the bend from x technology taking over and simplifying y cognitive task that is currently done by humans, I laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.



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Re: 21C Man, part 2: This Is How It Starts.
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2014, 02:24:13 am »
Yeah, as a general rule, for every task machines simplify, there are 3 we as a species forget how to do.
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Re: 21C Man, part 2: This Is How It Starts.
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2014, 02:51:03 am »
Yeah, as a general rule, for every task machines simplify, there are 3 we as a species forget how to do.

And, oddly enough, for every task machines simplify, we seem to spend more time working.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.



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Re: 21C Man, part 2: This Is How It Starts.
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2014, 02:51:40 am »
However, I would argue that there are exactly zero cognitive tasks machines have taken over for us.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.



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Re: 21C Man, part 2: This Is How It Starts.
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2014, 02:58:51 am »
However, I would argue that there are exactly zero cognitive tasks machines have taken over for us.

The only one I can think of is memorization. I know plenty of people, myself included, who don't bother to remember anything anymore because it's just a Google search away.
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Doktor Howl

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Re: 21C Man, part 2: This Is How It Starts.
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2014, 03:00:32 am »
Life runs in fractals, and it all seems to change color and shape at the same time, like a kaleidoscope. Right now, civilization is on a trip that's all about wasting as much as possible as fast as possible, because pretty soon everything's gonna run out and there won't be anything left to waste. It's the responsible thing to do.

I'd add my recent experience with the good people of Southwest Airlines, but I don't want to butt in on a good series.

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"Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown... the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you, the full story of what happened on that fateful day. We are bringing you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony, of the miserable souls, who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places. My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty. Let us reward the innocent. My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of grave robbers from outer space?"

Doktor Howl

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Re: 21C Man, part 2: This Is How It Starts.
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2014, 03:01:22 am »
Yeah, as a general rule, for every task machines simplify, there are 3 we as a species forget how to do.

And, oddly enough, for every task machines simplify, we seem to spend more time working.

This argument was made concerning the washing machine.  Successfully, I think.
"Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown... the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you, the full story of what happened on that fateful day. We are bringing you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony, of the miserable souls, who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places. My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty. Let us reward the innocent. My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of grave robbers from outer space?"

Doktor Howl

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Re: 21C Man, part 2: This Is How It Starts.
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2014, 03:01:56 am »
This is but one of many reasons that whenever an engineer or some other species of idealistic dreamer says that we're right around the bend from x technology taking over and simplifying y cognitive task that is currently done by humans, I laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh.

Fucking phone trees have killed that fucking idea forever.
"Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown... the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you, the full story of what happened on that fateful day. We are bringing you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony, of the miserable souls, who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places. My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty. Let us reward the innocent. My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of grave robbers from outer space?"