As we become more automated and deal less and less with a human being I have to wonder how much time we will spend trying to correct errors that the machines make. Earlier this week I went to buy a Miami Metro Rail pass, $150 for the month. The kiosk wouldn't accept my debit card (or anyone else) but unknown to me it charged my account. I tried later that day, same result, another $150 charge to my checking account. I'm told since its a kiosk nothing can be done and I must dispute the charge with my bank. So in a very busy day yesterday I'm forced to take out nearly an hour of my time trying to resolve the dispute with my bank. In the meantime I'm out $300.
The city of Miami runs a jitney train through the downtown area. Its free and very convenient. When the system was introduced years ago it was herald as a totally computerized system requiring no operator. However, on almost a daily basis the system goes haywire and people are stuck in the train between stations. The county then needs to dispatch a train operator out to the disabled train to manually operate it. As a result there a massive delays almost everyday. People fuming as they will be late for an appointment or for work.
It seems as though as we get more automated I spend more of my time dealing with technology snafus. I have to wonder if the time we are saving is being spent on the back end. I now longer can simply pump gas at the gas station using my debit or credit card because the information is lifted from the pump after I leave. No less than five times in the past year my credit or debit card has been compromised. So now I have to go into the little store and use cash. So I'm back to the way I bought gas in 1980. Go inside the station and ask for $20 on pump 2. I'm back to getting cash and the grocery store with a purchase and then using it to buy my Metrocard.
As the machines take over I believe we will live an almost continuous crisis as the machines foul up one thing or another.