Friday, May 3, 2013

Machines That "Get Smart With" Humans

Liz Klimas reports the latest European proposal for destroying nations by building into household appliances a device that would allow some central authority to shut off power at will, which would then, of course, be vulnerable to hostile takeovers:

Interesting that this story came out at the same time that this web site, for no obvious reason and without my knowledge or consent, "updated" itself by turning on an obnoxious spell-checker device that tries to change the spellings of words as I type them. Since I type words the way I want them typed, I find this distracting and annoying...and a little reminder of what's to come if all of us don't remain vigilant. Maybe the intention was to warn all bloggers, worldwide, that if we buy "new and improved" machines we'll find increasing numbers of changes that may be considered "improvements" from the viewpoint of someone other than the buyer.

Every business, however satisfactory its product or service may be to however small a market niche, needs competition so that we can tell manufacturers and service providers, "If you change something we like, you can expect to lose money on your 'new and improved' product. We don't have to go on trading with you."

And when we don't like products and services, it is a duty to complain about them on behalf of other people who may also find them unsatisfactory, not to mention honest businessmen who want their products and services to satisfy their customers. It is unkind to other people to put up with annoying innovations.