Sunday, 28 June 2015

Be Kind to Bots

Spare a thought for the automatic checkout machine who lives in a supermarket.

I have heard people swearing and cursing at them (and I've done it myself in the past), sneering at them, calling them stupid and so on, but I've never once heard anyone being polite to them. Anyone who returns the machine's "Thank you" always does so sarcastically.

Think for a moment about what this means.

It's considered acceptable, and even mildly amusing, to heap humiliating insults on a machine, but if you try to do the opposite, people will look at you like you're crazy and maybe say something like "You do know that it can't hear you, don't you?" in a pitying tone.

I find it somewhat worrying that only politeness and not abuse is considered to be irrational, and it's even more concerning when you realise that this is how people would have behaved towards slaves.

Imagine you had a servant, and they didn't understand what you said (through being deaf, or not speaking English, or whatever), would you consider it acceptable to abuse and insult them [assuming you could do so without giving your feelings away by body language]? If not, then why should it be acceptable to swear at a machine - which is literally acting as your servant - just because it can't hear you?

The machine might not be able to hear, but your actions say something about you.

No comments:

Post a Comment