Friday, June 25, 2004

Dumb report on Smart systems

CNET is carrying a story on how "Smart systems" will erode the number of jobs in the service industries. Harvey Cohen, president of Strategy Analytics, who authored the report has evidently never sat on the phone trying to decipher the menu tree nor attempted to follow an automated trouble-shooting web application. He couldn't have, because he concludes that "In the coming years, a large number of first-level jobs in service industries related to customer service, help desk and directory assistance will be lost due to the advent of intelligent systems."

Now I'm willing to admit that human-based first-line support isn't all that good, either, but at least you can stop the airhead and ask to speak to a supervisor - not something you can do when trapped in the endless loop of 'automated' support. Just as we've been patiently waiting for almost 50 years for the predictions about artificial intelligence to finally occur, so too will we be waiting almost as long for Mr. Cohen's prediction to take place.

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