Sometimes Intelligence is Too Artificial

Sometimes Intelligence is Too Artificial

When it comes to Artificial Intelligence, I feel like an old-time railroad hobo whose shoe is stuck between the rails. A locomotive is headed his way, but there isn’t much he can do about it, short of going barefoot. With AI, my leading concern is where to find the time to adapt to it.

One editorial network I’m part of scheduled a free Zoom call to discuss AI last June. Though the call occurred right after we returned from a trip, I had signed up in hopes of getting some pointers. Not only did I miss the call, I have yet to read the transcript the group supplied.

As I grapple with the time issue, I have gotten some chuckles from AI’s fallibilities. The most amusing story concerned a woman whose restaurant waiter was a robot. It got her order wrong and later brought her food intended for other diners.

Customer “Service”

Sometimes Intelligence is Too Artificial blog post by KenWalker Writer. Pictured: An AI bot touching a red wire.While we may chuckle over that, I wasn’t too pleased when a recent mix-up in trying to activate a new modem left us without internet and phone service for a day. Calling the cable company’s toll-free number proved to be a bit maddening.

The first time, I went through an eternal series of questions about whether I wanted to visit this or that website. I repeatedly said no while not stating the obvious: “I can’t visit a website when I don’t have any internet.”

Finally, in exasperation I punched “0,” hoping that would connect me with a person. That’s when the AI-powered helper told me to activate equipment I had to go online and hung up on me.

Whatever geniuses thought of using AI for customer service deserve to be sentenced to using a faulty hoverboard to get around town for the next year.

Round and Round

Fortunately, I was able to communicate via a follow-up text the company sent. They asked how likely I would be to recommend them to friends and family on a scale of 0 low to 10 high.

After I typed 0, they cheerfully replied, “We’d love to know more! Can you tell us a little bit about (your answer)?” I explained that I received no help when I called and was informed I had to activate equipment online when I had no internet connection.

Then they asked, “Did we resolve your issue?”

By now ready to break into laughter, I quickly typed no.

To my surprise, later an actual person called. I was on the phone for half an hour, trying various things to get my modem working. After nothing worked, the guy said he would schedule a visit from a technician.

To my surprise, it got set for the next morning between 8 and 10 a.m.

Pleasant Surprise

Pictured: A brown squirrel on a backyard fence.When the tech came and checked everything out, it turned out the fault was mine: I had failed to correctly connect a cable to the bottom of the modem.

Before leaving, he went outside to check the wiring there. That’s when he discovered a squirrel had nearly chewed through the line connected to our home.

After replacing all the wiring from the cable pole, he said, “You ought to get better service now.”

I texted the friend who had advised me that setting up the modem wouldn’t be too hard to tell him about my foul-up, but how in the end it turned out for the best.

“There was a purpose for my ineptitude,” I said.

Even in the mundane things of life, there’s always time for an early Christmas present.

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