I Hate Machines That Talk to Me

This elevator talks twice.
This elevator talks twice.
Call me an old fogey or whatever you want to call me (within reason), but talking machines are just weird.

Okay, I will concede that talking elevators are useful for people who are visually impaired. The days of elevator operators are over, which is good. That had to be a royally sucky job. But if you can’t see very well and there’s no poor, bored, underpaid working slob dying for a break … any break … whose job it is to let you off on the right floor, even though he’d probably rather toss you down the shaft, it helps to have an elevator that tells you where you are and where you are headed.

That doesn’t make it any less like The Twilight Zone when a disembodied voice announces, “Floor 11. Going UP,” with a little rise in pitch at the end.a But I’m willing to live in The Twilight Zone for a couple of minutes if it will help some of my fellow humans get from one floor to another.

But if I ever hear an elevator say, “Room for one more, honey,” I’m taking the stairs.

If anyone is ever thinking of getting me a talking watch for Christmas, DON’T. First of all, I have no luck with watches. If I don’t do something to break them, the battery wears out unexpectedly or the damned thing doesn’t work in the first place. This is beside the fact that I can’t get a normal sized watchband to fit around my big-boned wrist. So watches are not good gifts for me in the first place. Second, see the title of this piece. Enough said.

Three minutes to the big announcement.
Two minutes, then plug your ears.
The New York City Transit Authority apparently decided to do something right for a change, so they installed train arrival information signs in various subway stops, alerting people to when they can expect their next train to arrive. Unfortunately, this also comes with pre-recorded, spliced together announcements that blare out over the platform, usually when a train is just about to arrive in the station.

I guess they figured that the approximately 102 decibels generated by an arriving train weren’t loud enough.a As if New York doesn’t have enough noise already, they decided to add more by broadcasting announcements over the PA system. So we get yet another disembodied voice telling people what they could easily figure out for themselves just by looking up at the nice train arrival information sign or asking someone else who just read it. Another great example of redundancy in action.

Don’t get me started on those talking fish wall plaques. They are worth a whole new post of their own, under “Redneck Interior Decorating.”

Aha! I think I have the title of my next post!

aI found that out here: One More Report On What Makes the New York City Subways Suck

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8 thoughts on “I Hate Machines That Talk to Me”

  1. I work for a large company and when you call the office, you will always hear Carmel’s voice, directing you to press one for this or two for that. I got a new cell phone the other day and asked Carmel to set up my voice mail so when you call Bill Y and he can’t take your call, you’re greeted by Carmel’s voice, telling you that I can’t take your call right now as I’m out hatching devious plans to rid the world of the so-called music of Bon Jovi. That’s all very well and funny but I get so many people calling me, just wanting to hear the message and now poor Carmel is inundated with people asking for her to record a message!! Technology gone mad is what it is!

  2. I think I need help because some of my most philosophical conversations have been with the automated time recording voice, i.e. The time is 8:49 and 2 seconds . . . but really, isn’t time just a relative state of being?

    1. True. The problem with my Christmas wish list is that I have champagne tastes and most of my friends and family have beer budgets.

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