As a kid, I remember contemplating why we needed to learn math when we had pocket calculators. Lucky for me, the keyword is contemplating rather than complaining. Math was easy for me for longer than I can remember. My first memory was flash cards. My father, who never carried a calculator, emphasized the importance of math. His calculator was a short pencil – the kind you get with the golf scorecard – and anything to write on to do long math. “Worksheets” included boards, walls, shelves, bags of seed or feed, farm equipment, or anything that would take graphite.
Doing things the hard way with our brains is no different than pumping iron, running, cycling, or Pilates. The answer to why do those things when a machine can do it for you is obvious. The same goes for artificial intelligence.
What’s it like in k-12 or higher education these days? The temptation to use Google, phones, and AI applications must be immense, and deployment rampant, especially for writing papers. I can assure you that zero words from this blog come from a bot and it will always be that way.
Ideas In Bounds
The bots are good for generating content. For example, The Wall Street Journal reported an experiment that asked dumb (ha) Wharton students and ChatGPT to “generate an idea for a new product or service appealing to college students that could be made available for $50 or less.” With those clear parameters, guess who won.
The bot puked out 200 ideas in an hour, something that would take humans days to produce. Humans scored the bot’s recommendations against the student’s recommendations. About 50% of the bot’s recommendations were attractive, while only 40% of student recommendations. Wannabe entrepreneurs should find a bowling pal or maybe take macramé or origami classes to distract from their loss of meaning in life.
Ideas Out of Bounds
Would ChatGPT have suggested an iPhone back in 2007?
I don’t know anything about AI, but a computer only works within the bounds of data it has. We build mathematical models all the time to predict how systems would perform under certain conditions. However, if a new condition comes along or one that is outside the model’s range, prepare for an excursion. We learn this in engineering school. The iPhone was not part of the data set in 2007. See what I’m saying?
Re-lax, Mx. Entrepreneur. I just returned your purpose.
Here is a worthwhile quote (because it made me belly laugh) from a reader of that WSJ article. “CHATGPT has been egregiously stupid when I have used it. As soon as you reach the edge of conventional thinking, CHATGPT has nothing to say. CHATGPT simply reinforces conventional thinking and conventional errors.”
He’s referring to the bounds of the bot I described.
Customer Service Horror
Corporations have jumped the AI bandwagon and outsourced their hindrance centers for bots to escalate customer pain. For instance, I recently tried using frequent flyer miles to buy down a ticket price. Ten thousand miles were deducted from my account for a $100 discount, maybe. See below from my Delta receipt. There are two lines of “Paid with American Express.” Which one was used? Damned if I know.
In the process, I was flummoxed, thinking, well, I’ll see what happens with my credit card bill. You know how it is when buying things online at times. Sometimes, you’re really not sure, but you trust the system. It can’t be that dumb.
Oh yeah! Sometimes, it is “that dumb” to the fourth power. When the bill came due, I was charged the full $546.30.
It clearly says, “Applied ECredit.” What is this Delta Airlines eCredit game of three-card monte? Try their website, I did.
Delta’s guide to eCredits goes to a 404 page (404 = page not found. Nobody home. Brick wall. Pound sand).
After several rounds with a nameless bot, I made my way to a bot named Akshay. The transcript below shows that Akshay hurls random answers to unasked questions faster than I could reply. Delta’s bot replies are 100% irrelevant and useless.
Hi Jeffrey! Thanks for messaging with Delta! My name is Akshay, how may I assist you today?
how does the ecredit work? I paid part of my ticket with this but my credit card was charged the full ticket price.
eCredit can only be assigned to the name of the passenger on the eCredit, or as an exception, someone traveling in the same PNR as the eCredit owner. The passenger name on the eCredit must match the name of at least one passenger in the PNR.
eCredits are not valid on KLM or AF regional aircraft operated by any carrier that Delta does not have an e-ticket agreement with, such as Accesrail (9B) train and French Rail (2C), Pegasus (PC), and JetStar (JQ).
That doesn’t apply. I am the passenger
That doesn’t apply either. I’m flying delta. It’s my miles, my account, my ticket
Please confirm the ticket number which starts with 006?
No need to worry when you will make a next reservation so you can use your eCredit for future travel and I would suggest you to please contact us that time while doing book a reservation.
How do I find my ecredit balance?
As I can see your eCredit balance is $646.30 on this ticket 0062139049630.
do you have a phone number I can call next booking?
You can call on 1800-241-4141 and you can also reach out to us via messaging as well.
While I asked for the phone number, I searched the web for Delta phone numbers and found that the 4141 phone number shown is for international flights. That triggered me to eject Akshay from my life – not a pleasure to work with you, Akshay.
I can’t believe what I’m about to write, but Delta made me do it – Utilities, be sure to test and monitor your customer service pages using humans with random, common issues.
I have more AI topics and analysis squirreled away for more follies.