Shitty AI

Shitty automation usually, but not always, comes about when new user-facing technology is adopted by a company or institution for the ostensible reason of minimizing labor and cutting costs. Nobody likes wading through an interminable phone menu to try to address a suspect charge on a phone bill—literally, everyone would rather speak with a customer service rep. But that’s the system we’re stuck with because a corporation decided that the inconvenience to the user is well worth the savings in labor costs.

That’s just one example. But it gets at what makes spending some time wading through the world of shitty automation worthwhile—it often doesn’t even matter if automation improves anything at all for the customer, for the user, for anyone. If some enterprise solutions pitchman or government contractor can sell the top brass on the idea that a half-baked bit of automation will save it some money, the cashier, clerk, call center employee might be replaced by ill-functioning machinery, or see their hours cut to make space for it, the users will be made to suffer through garbage interfaces that waste hours of their day or make them want to hellscream into the receiver—and no one wins. Not even, sometimes, the company or organization seeking the savings, which can suffer reputational damage.