Tag Archives: automated messages

Where have all the people gone?

“Please listen carefully – Press 1 for English, Press 2 for French. If you were born on a Tuesday press 4 …. thank you for holding. Your time is important and we will be with you as soon as possible. Your current wait time is 24 minutes.”

Does all this automation really speed things up? I am really not sure. Have you been through arrivals at Calgary airport where you feed your form into the computer and then have to go and stand in a line so a man can tell you whether you can leave or not. ???

Same as e-tickets and checking in online. You get to the airport and you still have to go to another computer to print out baggage tags – or maybe I am missing something – so how come you have to go and stand in another line up. And … something I have to vent about …. I still cannot manage to get those baggage tags on my bags without the help of one of the airline staff.

Where will this all lead us? Will flight attendants be next? Just get on the plane yourself and find your own seat. Get yourself seated and it is up to you to check that you have your seatbelt on. Can’t always depend on someone else to look out for you. A robot can’t do that job. What happens if there is an emergency mid flight? Or someone has a baby? Or they run out of the pasta option. Who’re you gonna complain to? Robots don’t care – they don’t have feelings.

It’s alright – we can all relax. Flight attendants are the least likely people to be replace by robots according to http://www.replacedbyrobot.info who record as follows –

0 % Chance of Automation

“Flight Attendant” will never be replaced by robots.

This job is ranked #250 out of #702. A higher ranking (i.e., a lower number) means the job is less likely to be replaced.

What a relief! I really don’t want to be on a flight without a flight attendant who can do all these amazing things. You should read the list on the website – https://www.replacedbyrobot.info/56127/airline-flight-attendant

After reading this report I got curious….. Mmm – “they” keep saying that travel agents will go the way of dinosaurs. I wonder what http://www.replacedbyrobot.info thinks about travel agents ….. deep breath – click search ….

5.7% Chance of Automation

“Travel Agent” will not be replaced by robots.

This job is ranked #143 out of #702. A higher ranking (i.e., a lower number) means the job is less likely to be replaced.

Whew! That’s a relief. But what is the job most likely to be replaced by robots I wondered ….

Right on top of the list – TELEMARKETERS…. well I am not sorry but I do feel a bit bad for those who might lose their jobs.

Other aspects of travel that we don’t want to be replaced by a robot would be hotel check in. Now I know it is a nuisance sometimes when you get to the hotel and there is a big line up for check in. This is particularly common when everyone arrives from the airport on the free shuttle (maybe a reason to shell out for a taxi). However how can you explain to the robot that you absolutely hate a connecting door in your room? Yes I know you can put in that as a request when you book your hotel but we all know that no-one reads that kind of thing. How many times have you heard “Yes we know you wanted a king bed but it does say that this is on a request basis only”. No, give me a person any time. You know why – you can smile at a person, be nice, be chatty, (honey attracts more bees than vinegar) …. you can’t do that to a computer!

Thank you for calling……

In the travel business we spend a lot of time on the phone.  That is why most travel websites will feature a photo of a young attractive and happy travel consultant with a headset….

Where is this marvellous girl?  I will tell you where – she is living  inside a computer.  She’s not real.  More often now I find myself talking to Ms Computer Voice when I phone an airline or a tour company.  But wait – it get’s worse.  In the “good old days” you would listen to Ms Computer Voice who would guide you through the prompts with “Press 1” or “Press 2”.  Nowadays you have to speak back to the computer.  How embarrassing and demeaning is that?  Do they honestly think we are fooled into thinking we are speaking to a real person?  Then why continue with this charade? 

It get’s even worse when you have a client sitting at your desk.  You offer helpfully to phone the tour company or airline so you can put a special request on file or ask for a change or whatever.  The companionable silence is broken when you suddenly blurt out “Agent” into the phone.  The client jumps nervously and wonders who you are talking to because it certainly doesn’t sound like a real conversation.  Several other orphan words and phrases float around over the desk.  “Travel agent”, “Go back”, “Something else”.  All the while the client on the other side of the desk is looking at you warily….  No wonder.  And don’t try to be discreet.  Ms Computer Voice will just tell you firmly but rather critically “I’m sorry I can’t hear you.  Please try to speak a little louder”.

Technology is out to get us people!  Our new car has blue tooth for the cell phone.  The only problem is Ms Blue Tooth doesn’t understand my husband’s South African accent.  She will often chastise him, “I’m sorry please repeat command”.   Naturally she doesn’t give him a chance to repeat his command but then launches into a full run down of all the menu options.  I am telling you, there is no stopping here once she gets on a roll.  A couple of days ago after three attempts to “call home ET” my husband broke down into hysterical laughter and told her she was a bitch.  She was not perturbed in the slightest.  She came right back at him – “USB2 – is that correct?”

So don’t feel bad about shouting at computers – they can stick up for themselves.