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Ken

An important criteria would be to avoid human intervention, which is costly and may also do things like not completely fill planes. The problem with air travel is that most people are focused on buying the cheapest ticket, so the airlines will do whatever it takes to produce the cheapest possible acceptable standards. Then they complain about what it takes to achieve those conditions. Things like cramped seating and the lack of flexibility, so that once things go wrong there is a massive waiting time.A lot of businesses operate the same way. The people who were ahead of me in the queue for a rental car weren't very happy that their car was supposed to have been returned 4 hours before and they would just have to wait until it was. To keep prices low they can't have spare cars at peak times.

Nate

This opens up an important point about the need for slack in systems. The replacement of human decision makers with software often corresponds with a reduction in slack. You will improve efficiency when you reduce slack, but only in the short term and so long as no unforeseen events occur. Slack is a necessary component of any flexible system, but most software folks still operate from the perspective that the world is nice, neat, and orderly, just like their code, and not the big mess that it really is.

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