For the past few days, every time I log in to Facebook, it pops up a message that I am logging in from an unknown device and have to go through a security check (they send me a code via email which I have to submit to be let in). As it happens, these days I always use the same computer, sitting on top of the same desk, with the same mac address, same network card, same IP address, and same browser.
On the other hand, when I was travelling in the Atlantic provinces in the summer, and infrequently logging in, with a different computer, using the WiFi network at whatever campground or B&B I happened to be in, Facebook was happy to let me in without a security check.
Such are the glories of Artificial Intelligence. This is the corporation governments are now pressuring to use the prowess of their Artificial Intelligence to censor what users are allowed to say.
Certainly Facebook isn’t alone in its ability to screw up seemingly simple things. I have been updating a number of business and personal accounts recently, for example by updating contact information, or switching some payments from one credit card to another. Simple changes, which usually involve going online or calling a 1-800 number.
From these experiences, I have learned a few things about the companies I have been calling:
1) They are experiencing a higher volume of calls than usual.
2) They have been experiencing a higher-than-usual volume of calls for years.
3) They won’t be hiring any more staff to handle the usual, higher-than-usual, volume of calls.
4) They have changed their options to serve me better.
5) The new improved options don’t allow me to do what I need to do any better than the old unimproved options did. They may in fact be worse.
6) In addition to a website and an 800-number, some of them also have an app (an “award-winning app” in the case of one company I called today: the recording mentioned the “award-winning app” three times before it allowed me to choose an option, whereupon I was cut off).
7) The award-winning app doesn’t allow me to do what I need to do either.
(It also doesn’t tell me who bestowed the award on their app, or what the criteria were. I certainly know that the customers weren’t invited to vote on the award.)
8) Sometimes you will be offered an online chat option. To use it, you will first have to choose from a list of topics.
9) None of the choices will apply to your problem.
10) The overworked and underpaid people who answer the phones, if you manage to get through to one (they are often your only hope when the websites and award-winning apps don’t let you do what you need to do) are well aware of how glitchy the systems are. On two occasions this week, the person I was dealing with hurriedly gave me a phone number (different from the main 1-800 number) to call back on “just in case you get cut off during the call.”
11) It’s not going to get better. Ever.
12) We need to overthrow capitalism.
December 18, 2021