Big Tech Companies Are Messing Up

In a quest for profit and automation, big tech companies are making mistakes that matter to people using their services. Some are small and annoying; others are more significant.

Some examples:

Turn on the Weather Channel in Brattleboro and you’ll be welcomed to Putney. Yes, Putney. The Weather Channel made a switch a year or so ago and decided that the big city in our region, right up there with Albany and Burlington, is Putney.

LinkedIn makes sure to tell everyone that employees in Brattleboro work in the Springfield area. Springfield, MA, that is. So helpful!

Google lists a number of local businesses correctly on their maps, but display results that say we’re in Guilford, VT. This is especially stupid, since Google demands businesses confirm their address before accepting, and businesses type in their information into Goggle’s forms. Despite repeated “suggested corrections” and “correction accepted!” messages, the Google’s choice that we’re in Guilford remains active.

They are also using out of date date for some listings, and showing Guilford, VT businesses as being in Brattleboro. This, again, after having the correct info given to them.

Yahoo got hacked (again). They sent out an important announcement with critical information. The link in it goes to a page not found” and a visit to their “Safety Center” with information about security has no information whatsoever. Their news page doesn’t even feature the story.

Uber launched self driving cars in California, and they promptly ran red lights, threatening people in crosswalks. Uber blamed human error for their machine errors.

I’m sure you could add to the list.

One mistake is annoying. This many is sloppy and of concern, especially since these companies are notoriously hard to reach. Many use automated systems, and one can get caught in a loop trying to point out their errors (another error – customer service!).

All of this is a reminder that the promises of technology are only as good as the people putting it together.

The hype is that we can use these services to have a better life and career, but if my local weather shows me another town, my job is listed in the wrong place, my business is incorrect on the map, cars are driving themselves into pedestrians, and systems used to publicize businesses are hacked, how is this helping?

Comments | 3

  • The uber minds of big tech

    The way the big tech companies act, you would think they consider themselves above all of us and our puny minds. They know we don’t understand what they do (partly because they don’t want us too), and they take advantage of our ignorance and trusting natures. We see this all over the place. Privacy? Pshaw!

    But the situation we had yesterday with Google was a bit surprising, even to me. You’d think that people who run a global database of everything and who have a vested interest in all of us using and contributing to that database would make it easier to update our records so the data is accurate. But no, it’s arcane and complex and unintuitive by design, if not intention. At least we were able to talk to a charming tech support person in a foreign land, and after 45 minutes on the phone, solve the problem….

  • Mess up? They do it on purpose.

    Our life’s purpose will be replaced by machines? In the future, of AI, can computers replicate how different every human being is from one another? How much we disagree, how much we fight? Can they copy that? Or will that be necessary, will we all be happy to be perfectly identical? I think they’re working on that one right now and I think it’s headed heavily in that direction. Are there a set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer, that can make computers different on every level? No. There aren’t. Or will that be necessary, because human beings will be rendered superfluous in the future, as everything we do will be able to be done by either a robot or some machine? There’s a flaw, of course, smarty-pants humans create the algorithms, which are group-think biased, and so it could end up just being a war of one group of computers headed by a corporation against another group of computers headed by an evil corporation. The following article has nothing to do with automation, it has to do with data gathering. Data = Ads = Revenue. Facebook makes up the data, and gathers billions in revenue from ads and hungry corporations looking to sell their products to essentially damaged human beings. Create false identities of your users. That’s our future. We are going to be faked.

  • Hinsdale?

    I live in Brattleboro. With recent ‘upgrades’ to programs and my computer’s OS, every time I open a web browser my location is checked. Often it is decided that I am logging in from Hinsdale. All of my settings and contact info for various sites and applications have a Brattleboro zip code. My phone number, which is registered with a couple of different sites and programs, has a Vermont area code, followed by a Brattleboro exchange. But the WorldWideGPS continues to insist that I live in Hinsdale. When I notice this, I log on to whatever account is involved, and change it back to its original setting for Brattleboro. Within a day or two the internet once again lists me as being in Hinsdale. I don’t know if it is still there, but if one checked my street address with Google maps, I was pictured (without my consent or royalty payment)(as though that mattered) walking past the building in which I reside. It is not in Hinsdale. Google also used to list a local social service agency’s phone number as my number. Repeated phone calls to google didn’t help, and repeated phone calls to the social service agency didn’t produce much of a result either. I recorded an announcement for my answering machine which started “Hello, this is NOT …” Finally, after close to two years of calls and complaints, Google corrected the agency’s online phone number. I have thought of sending them a bill for the amount of time I have invested in dealing with their mistakes, but the thought of listening to their cynical laughter is the kind of reply that I do not wish to bear.

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