Everyday Artificial Stupidity

Monday afternoon. The classroom projector announces: “In 2 minutes the projector will go into standby mode.” After 60 seconds, it changes to: “In 1 minutes the projector will go into standby mode.” Was it really too hard to make that “1 minute”? Tuesday, early morning. No one else in the building. The elevator wakes as I press the “Up” button. But before the doors open a synthesized voice inside announces: “Lift going up!” The system has been idle, doors closed and no buttons pressed, all night. So who is the addressee? Some stray blind person sleeping in the elevator? Couldn’t the program have included a line meaning “if not idle”? Wednesday. At the supermarket self-checkout machine I press “Pay with cash.” The electronic voice says: “Insert cash, or select payment…


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