To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer. Paul R. Ehrlich

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carum carvi
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To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer. Paul R. Ehrlich

Post by carum carvi » Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:06 pm

"To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer".

Paul R. Ehrlich



Thinking it through, this quote doesnt make sense. Although it made me laugh hard enough to post it in the open chat of LInuxMInt forum.

What the quote should have been: To err is human, but for humans to really foul things up they need a computer.

The original quote seems to put the blame on a machine and not on the human as the first cause of damage done.Because in the end it is mostly humans that use computers in a way that causes disasters. A tv progam about famous airline crashes comes to mind. In one episode they showed the most advanced airplane ever designed. It could fly totally by itself, controlled by computers. What did the pilot do? He invited his son into the cockpit and he let him steer the plane, causing it to spiral out of control. I forgot if it crashed or not. I think it did...


This quote by Paul R Ehrlich also reminds me of the beginning days of Windows, when I regularly was greeted with a blue screen, which really gave me small panic attacks. Again, I was the main cause of all this trouble, because I just couldnt help messing with it in ways I didnt understand.

Comparing these times with the fifties and sixties I wonder if it is true that nowadays more things get messed up because the computer is interwoven in so many parts of our lives?

Have we entered an age in which life runs smoother because of computers or have they made our lives more complicated?

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trytip
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Re: To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer. Paul R. Ehrlich

Post by trytip » Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:46 pm

you know which quote is stupid:
In a world without walls and fences, who needs windows and gates?

where do they get the idea that we live in a world without walls and fences. we have firewalls, border walls, walls that separate your rooms, fences that keep animals in the zoo, sharp barbed wire fences that keep criminals inside prisons and quite a few more walls and fences

umm, we need windows and gates, we're not quite in paradise yet where we can leave our front doors wide open and never worry about putting our stuff behind closed gates
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Re: To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer. Paul R. Ehrlich

Post by Flemur » Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:58 pm

With a computer I can make millions of mistakes per second.
Please edit your original post title to include [SOLVED] if/when it is solved!
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Re: To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer. Paul R. Ehrlich

Post by nakednorman » Wed Oct 24, 2018 5:43 pm

"A computer helps you make mistakes faster than any invention in human history - with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila."
:)

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Re: To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer. Paul R. Ehrlich

Post by lsemmens » Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:12 am

Computers are DUMB BOXES! They only do what they're told! NO MORE! NO LESS!
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Re: To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer. Paul R. Ehrlich

Post by deepakdeshp » Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:46 am

:o
lsemmens wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:12 am
Computers are DUMB BOXES! They only do what they're told! NO MORE! NO LESS!
Nowadays there is machine learning and artificial intelligence.
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Re: To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer. Paul R. Ehrlich

Post by Hoser Rob » Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:02 am

I think the issue now is that many think that if you just throw computers at people then wonderful things will automatically happen. They won't. Whatever you were doing wrong before manually, you'll still be doing wrong with the computer. You'll just be making mistakes a LOT faster and also harder to find.

If you're the sort pf person who puts all their receipts in a shoebox and then calls H&R Block 2 days before the tax deadline, for example, a computer will make you even more disorganized.

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Re: To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer. Paul R. Ehrlich

Post by BG405 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:35 pm

lsemmens wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:12 am
They only do what they're told!
... with the notable exception of Windows computers ... :roll:
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Re: To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer. Paul R. Ehrlich

Post by lsemmens » Sun Nov 04, 2018 7:01 pm

BG405 wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:35 pm
lsemmens wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:12 am
They only do what they're told!
... with the notable exception of Windows computers ... :roll:
They still only do what they are told, just not by you! :D
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Re: To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer. Paul R. Ehrlich

Post by T_Characht3r » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:55 am

lsemmens wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 7:01 pm
BG405 wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:35 pm
lsemmens wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:12 am
They only do what they're told!
... with the notable exception of Windows computers ... :roll:
They still only do what they are told, just not by you! :D
When you realize that your computer is controlled by windows: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H7NZ0GNIIE
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Re: To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer. Paul R. Ehrlich

Post by redlined » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:54 pm

trytip wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:46 pm
you know which quote is stupid:
In a world without walls and fences, who needs windows and gates?

where do they get the idea that we live in a world without walls and fences. we have firewalls, border walls, walls that separate your rooms, fences that keep animals in the zoo, sharp barbed wire fences that keep criminals inside prisons and quite a few more walls and fences

umm, we need windows and gates, we're not quite in paradise yet where we can leave our front doors wide open and never worry about putting our stuff behind closed gates
I read In a world without walls and fences, who needs windows and gates?
as: In a (GNU&FOSS) world without walls and fences, who needs winders(OS) and (Bill) Gates...
(the latter not to include B&M Gates foundation, where that has proven beneficial;)

Hope this helps! :lol:
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Re: To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer. Paul R. Ehrlich

Post by BG405 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:15 pm

T_Characht3r wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:55 am
When you realize that your computer is controlled by windows: Office worker hits and kicks computer
:lol: :mrgreen:
redlined wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:54 pm
I read In a world without walls and fences, who needs windows and gates?
as: In a (GNU&FOSS) world without walls and fences, who needs winders(OS) and (Bill) Gates...
That's how I interpreted it as well. :wink: :D
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ud6

Re: To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer. Paul R. Ehrlich

Post by ud6 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:00 am

carum carvi wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:06 pm
Comparing these times with the fifties and sixties I wonder if it is true that nowadays more things get messed up because the computer is interwoven in so many parts of our lives?
Yup, what hasn't change is that decision makers rarely know the actual analysis process, whether that be a computer operator in a bank ('computer says no'), or a politician. All that has happened is they have gained more confidence in faulty analyses because there is more computing power behind it.

I have no doubt that in the next 20 years a politician will be heard saying 'we know this is right because it was done by AI'.
computer-says-no.jpg

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Re: To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer. Paul R. Ehrlich

Post by carum carvi » Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:19 am

ud6 wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:00 am

Yup, what hasn't changed is that decision makers rarely know the actual analysis process, whether that be a computer operator in a bank ('computer says no'), or a politician. All that has happened is they have gained more confidence in faulty analyses because there is more computing power behind it.
I think that is very true Ud6. All sorts of bureaucratic decisions come to mind reading your quote. When an agency, whatever one, sees something listed in a computer, it is near impossible to correct it. Very down to earth example of the power bureaucrats have over computer data in their system: I once had troubles with my cable tv connection. I had been a paying customer for years with that particular cable company. I called them to complain about the distorted cable tv signal, but they said I wasnt a customer with their company, because I wasnt listed in their computer system. So they didnt have to help me.

I mailed them my receipts that I had been a paying customer for years. After weeks they finally believed me and promised they would sent some repair guy. Someone from the cable company actually came. Huuraah. He said there was a faulty cable underneath the ground of my house. They would come back with a excavator to break open the sidewalk to replace the broken tv cable. I was amazed by such a great customerservice! But unfortunately they never came. And when I called back to my cable company to complain they AGAIN started saying that I wasnt a customer. AAARrrgghhh! That' s real computer madness: bureaucrats blindly trusting their faulty data...

ud6

Re: To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer. Paul R. Ehrlich

Post by ud6 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:38 am

carum carvi wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:19 am

I think that is very true Ud6. All sorts of bureaucratic decisions come to mind reading your quote. When an agency, whatever one, sees something listed in a computer, it is near impossible to correct it. Very down to earth example of the power bureaucrats have over computer data in their system: I once had troubles with my cable tv connection. I had been a paying customer for years with that particular cable company. I called them to complain about the distorted cable tv signal, but they said I wasnt a customer with their company, because I wasnt listed in their computer system. So they didnt have to help me.

I mailed them my receipts that I had been a paying customer for years. After weeks they finally believed me and promised they would sent some repair guy. Someone from the cable company actually came. Huuraah. He said there was a faulty cable underneath the ground of my house. They would come back with a excavator to break open the sidewalk to replace the broken tv cable. I was amazed by such a great customerservice! But unfortunately they never came. And when I called back to my cable company to complain they AGAIN started saying that I wasnt a customer. AAARrrgghhh! That' s real computer madness: bureaucrats blindly trusting their faulty data...
:lol: :lol: :lol:

Classic. I had similar problem with student loan.. I made first payment by transfer and subsequent payments by standing order. Every month I'd get a letter saying I was fined because I was a month behind - the two payment records weren't linked. After resolving this five times (it would be resolved until next month) instead my response was 'take me to court'. When humans actually focussed on the data for a court case, they resolved the issue.

I was lucky with a mortgage payment though.. I swapped mortgages and I phoned my old bank to say I owed them a mortgage payment still, and how should I transfer it. They told me I had never had a mortgage with them. 'Fair enough, your computer system must be right' I responded :lol: :lol:

This book 'Made by Humans' is an exposition of problems of putting too much reliance on computing and AI analyses/decisions when we don't know how those descions have been made. She was stimulated to write the book after being denied a loan due to a computer data entry error. https://www.amazon.com/Made-Humans-Cond ... B07FXTGMGN

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