I recently attempted to call my sister Meg via the voice recognition software in my car.  

“Call Meg,” I said.  “Calling Susan,” the auto-voice responded.  

“No, call MEG,” I said again.  “Calling Miron,” the computer said.

“No, call M-E-G,” I barked.  “Calling 9-1-1,” it said as ringing began.  

N-O !!

A minute later, I had a call from Sgt. Mike at the Jo Daviess Sheriff’s Department wanting to know if everything was alright.  

I think about the things that were automated in the name of efficiency that often require more energy than the manual version of the same thing.

> Voice recognition software that never did call M-E-G and instead involved the sheriff.

> Auto-flush toilets that often flush two or three times while you are in the stall.

> Motion sensitive lights that come on when a plastic bag flies through the yard.

Automated does not necessarily mean better.  Sometimes the old fashioned way really does have its merits.  Just ask Sergeant Mike!

— beth triplett

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