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All of these examples represent a technological "solution" perfectly fulfilling its intended primary purpose. That purpose is to generate revenue from technology. The practical functioning of the artefact in the real world becomes irrelevant once the sale is made.

In short, they're all examples of "a solution looking for a problem", and the life would continue unaltered if they all disappeared.


They are all solutions where someone thought that getting a pass mark was OK, and what they really needed was 100% or close.

I suspect that in some cases they don't care. Take the business that keeps sending ads. They store a cookie when you look at a product on their website. They could probably fix this if you bought something, but why not just leave it there. You'll never click on it, so it costs them nothing.

It would be sensible for the light switch to have infra-red or to learn that it shouldn't shut-off until 2 hours after the last person leaves, but why not just set it to always shut-off at 7pm. Ours do, and then we have to do the jig every 10 minutes or sit in the dark.


Artificial stupidity: rule-based behaviors that sound good on the drawing board but that don't account for the messy variability of real-world inputs.


A car that locks all the doors when you close the trunk, which locks you out if your key is still in the ignition.


All good points. Jeff's example reminds me of this other one:

A car with cameras on all four sides which incontrollably plays "music" in four parts when trying to squeeze it into a tight parking spot in a garage (this happened in Germany)


Systems that have to balance type I vs type II errors.

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