W? Why have people become dumber than machines?

[WARNING – Strong language, possible incoherence, definitive stupidity]

Dear W,

Today I lost faith in humanity. I was already convinced the movie Idiocarcy was a foreshadowing of what was to come for us, but I didn’t expect for people to get this dumb this fast!

You must think that I’m being harsh on human kind and that if we have invented machinery that can operate on a human brain without damaging it and computers that can solve nearly any math problem, we can’t be that dumb! Well… Maybe you’re right!  But what if you were not?

Some humans are born smarter than others, it’s a fact. But smart can mean a lot of things. You have book smart, people with the need to know as much as possible on the subject they’re passionate about who will be the ones who’ll create new technologies and things we (aka, people who think we’re smart when we figure out the obvious plot of an action movie before the end) can’t possibly begin to understand. You also have street smart, people who’ll know how to use what they know or see to get what they want and turn it into gold. They’re the ones who will find an intricate loophole whereas we (aka people who feel super proud to find a way to get out of doing the dishes) are still trying to figure out how they ended up getting exactly what they wanted.

If I have to evaluate myself, I’d say I’m average in both. I know I’m not book smart probably because I’m too narcissistic or maybe not passionate enough to give so much of myself to a subject that in the end, isn’t going to give me anything apart from the recognition of my peers. I don’t need their recognition, thanks! They can keep it. And although I’m maybe street smart in some ways, I’m way too lazy to really exploit that and do something with it (except maybe ask W questions)…

So, if I’m not THAT smart, how come I came to the conclusion that people are fu*cking stupid sometimes? And why does it get worse every time you get a computer mixed up in it?

Well, let me tell you a story that happened to me this month, that pushed my hopes about humanity advancing towards the greater good (or at least just surviving more than a century) over the edge. Those hopes are now shattered in hundreds of little pieces and nothing can fix them.

It all began a few weeks ago, when I, as a self-diagnosed makeup junkie, ordered new things I didn’t need (at all), but that felt were absolutely crucial to my existence, from the LookFantastic website.

One of the things I always loved about them is that if you spend a certain amount (that I exceeded by at least 150€/£/$/whatever), they offer you a free sample that you can choose from a list you see once you’re in your cart, ready to order. Eager to try out new skincare, I picked a sample of the “Clinique – Dramatically Different Anti Pollution Jelly” to add to the 16 items that were already in my cart, and clicked ORDER, feeling happy and poor at the same time.

To my surprise, only one day later, my order was ready to be shipped as I received the e-mail everyone waits for when they order online: Your order is on it’s way! But then, something happened, that would change my view on human kind… Forever!

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Only hours after my order was dispatched, an automatic e-mail came telling me that something horrible had happened… An item was missing from my order and I wasn’t going to get it just yet. I was feeling sad at first, but imagine my surprise when I scrolled down the email to see what the missing item was…

what 1

Yes, you do read that correctly! My missing item is non other than my sample. My 1ml of moisturizer sample. My “not big enough to try on my entire face” sample is missing, how will I survive?

As you can imagine, I laughed it off, thinking how stupid it was to send me an e-mail to tell me that, but I guess it was good they didn’t act like nothing was going on when they forgot the sample.

Gosh, was I naive…

The next day, I received the same e-mail, telling me that my sample was missing. That’s when realized that once my order arrived, my status would be updated and the e-mails would probably stop.

When the doorbell rang and the package came, I was so happy to open it and see every item I ordered, I nearly forgot about the sample for a moment. That was until, the day after my package arrived, I received the same e-mail telling me how sorry they were the sample couldn’t be sent. I hesitated for a second and thought about sending them an e-mail to tell them that it was OK and that they could stop sending me the same e-mail over and over, but it was the middle of the week and I was working, who has time to lose on the phone or by e-mail for a 1ml FREE sample, right?

After 5 e-mails telling me how sorry they were my Free 1ml Sample still wasn’t there, things changed. That’s when I got an e-mail that started to make me think this whole thing wasn’t going to end well.

what 2

 

Wait? What? They didn’t… They couldn’t have just paid a shipping just to send me a Free 1ml cream sample, could they? The answer is YES! Yes, they could and yes, they did! At this point, I was still kind of laughing about it, thinking about the fact that a stamp to send it and the envelope cost more that what’s inside, but for the sake of being honest, they were willing to spend the money to give me what was owed to me, right?

Yeah, not really… Because what came into the mail a few days latter was this:

lol

I decided to put a marker over it for scale.

You can imagine my surprise when I received this package… I was genuinely confused! This couldn’t be it! Did they send me something else with it? Was the free 1ml cream sample bigger than I expected? I had doubts about it because my brain couldn’t comprehend it otherwise. There had to be something in there that justified the size of that box… It couldn’t just be the sample! So I opened it…

MVIMG_20181024_131323

I knew it! There’s paper in it! There must be something under there that this paper was supposed to protect during the transportation! When I finally took the paper out, this is what I discovered under it:

MVIMG_20181024_131345

There it was, floating around like I did when my mom made me wear my big brother’s clothes because we were too broke to just throw stuff away, my Free 1ml cream sample. Taking the sample out of that disproportionately large box, lap still covered by all the paper that was “protecting” it, I realized how many stupid people it took to get me into this situation.

First, the person who saw there was no more samples and didn’t e-mail me to ask if I wanted an other one but just clicked “not shipped” hoping the problem was going to fall into someone else’s lap. Then there is that person who doesn’t check automatic e-mails, or what they say, who could have seen there was a problem only by looking at the fact that what was missing was a fu*cking sample. Finally there was that person who took a 1ml sample and put it in a giant box (hopefully the smallest one available), then covered it with paper to protect it, thinking it wasn’t weird at all, probably justifying it by saying to themselves that it wasn’t their place to say something because they’re just there to do what the machine tells them to. They are just doing their job, right?

But guys, what happened here is that the machine was wrong in the first place and we, multiple fully functional humans who created said machines, followed what it said until something this stupid happened. You’re probably thinking I’m getting mad over nothing here, because it’s just a box or it’s just a sample, but it really isn’t.

Just imagine for a second the thousands of people that have had this same experience. The thousands of boxes, papers, shipping costs and hours of labor that people being dumber than machines has cost to LookFantastic. Now, think further, the pollution I inadvertently created because I clicked on that stupid sample that made more shipping so created more traffic. Let’s get a little further and think of a person working on a medical supply factory for example. What if the machine tells them it’s OK to send the pills they have in front of them to a hospital, when they were in fact a bad batch that was meant for destruction, even though the label clearly stated BAD BATCH. What then? Who do we blame? The guy who blindly did his job, the person who clicked “send to hospital” before him or the book smart person who invented the program in the first place?

All this brings me to the conclusion that I’m kind of tired of seeing people becoming dumber as the machines are getting “smarter”. If machines are getting smarter, so should we! Because, let’s face it, if you can’t be smarter than your hammer, you’re just a tool!

tenor

I can already sense some of you thinking that I just ranted for a whole article and that I didn’t really give any answers as to how we could do better, but I’m not here to give answers, I’m here to ask questions! You’re probably going to ask if people really would be better off without computers, but I’ve already been talking for a long time, so that’s a question I’ll have to ask W another time…

Love you even if you hate me!

Bisous xx

Laura

PS: English is my third language and grammatical errors might, will, did happen. I’m not sorry, just deal with them and correct them in your beautiful head of yours. K. Bye.

 

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