FIOS Reboot for the Medical Quack Today–My Attack of the Killer Algorithms And Verizon Support Handled Successfully Via Tw
Posted Aug 30 2012 8:36pm
Nothing surprises me anymore today as complexities grow. I happen to have my phone service via FIOS and today I had the second and strangest issue I have seen. A few weeks ago I was in the middle of a conversation and the phone went dead and I got in touch with support and it was elevated up to the engineers and it was dead about 12 hours but it was on a weekend so I was not too concerned. I never did pursue what happened but it was involved to a pretty high level and this stuff happens everywhere today and with my phone services through FIOS, it happened here, twice. I work with a lot of new technologies and understand that things happen sometimes and I may never know the exact cause but as long as it gets fixed I move on.
Last night I had incident number two arise to where folks calling me from their land lines were getting a recording saying my number was no longer in service. Some of the same people that call me also have my cell phone or email address and let me know. Ok so picked up my cell phone and dialed my FIOS number and it rang and worked…strange I thought as how does a cell phone caller get through and someone on a land line gets told my number has been disconnected. Best I could figure was that some SQL statement wasn’t running correctly but not my system and only a guess. As it got later I didn’t give it a lot of thought as I somewhat thought it would be fixed as big companies like Verizon monitor this stuff with reports all the time and stuff like shows up and without any interaction from me it’s gets fixed. I don’t bother them unless it’s big and relative to my work urgency. Sometimes you would be amazed to know how much trouble shooting has been automated too with big companies.
Well this morning I tried to make some out going calls and the situation was reversed in the fact that every number I called, including cell phones I got the recording that the number had been disconnected. Well of course I knew this was an error as there would not be a huge series of folks with disconnected numbers arise like this. Ok so off to Twitter I go and it worked well to get a hold of Verizon Support and it took a while but all was repaired. As mentioned now I could get incoming calls but had the outgoing issue with everyone else fictitiously “being disconnected” with the recording.
As systems get more complex and integrated, expect more of this and this is not a Verizon problem it happens everywhere so there more roller coasters on the way and we don’t when, why and where all the time but the rogue and killer algorithms will appear when you least expect it. If you want another example, look at Wall Street with the Knight story…there you go but human error with letting these algorithms loose. I have clients that I have worked with that don’t get this and think as I am in the middle that I can fix everything and it’s hard for the average person to comprehend some of this, but it happens.
Everyone also picks on the FDA wanting faster device approvals and so do I like everyone else but I want one with software that works and is fully tested and if you push developers to release any kind of product before it’s time, well the results can be disaster. This is why the FDA needs more engineers like everybody else any one in Congress that thinks there’s another type of fix for this with a law is not dealing with reality. Give it up in Congress with laws and get them the people they need.
Sure today I was not happy and fell behind in some of the work I wanted to get done but nobody at Verizon got their head bit off nor had to hear any profanity or screaming but I worked through Twitter and it was fixed. I mentioned I was a blogger and talk about algorithms and perhaps they might have expected a big rage but there’s no scape goats with humans today when it comes to dealing with machine technologies, just work with the programmers and engineers until it’s fixed as human algorithm intervention is needed sometimes. These are the nutcases (some quants-link below) one needs to be concerned about and WIRED magazine did a very good article on this a short while back:
Is there any way I can think of to explain the strange activity on my line…nope..but it happened and was fixed and again when you have a lot of machines working together and algorithms interacting with each other and my FIOS line is right in there with it, stuff happens. All I can say here is that this is a communication issue and not one like on the markets with Facebook and Knight so we don’t have millions to deal with as far as back tracking to see who’s algorithm did what.
I will say though, Twitter was the absolute right call and saved both ends a lot of time on the phone. Kevin Slavin and Sean Gourley in the videos below do a pretty good job with talking about algorithms, physics and how they affect our lives and some of it is good and some of it is maybe not so good, especially when making money comes in to the picture. So today was my day with the Verizon algorithms that maybe went rogue or reacted strangely with some other algorithms.
Algorithms are not stable.
Here’s some real examples of how algorithms make decisions about you and I and how a lot of the machine activity today created the entire “Occupy Movement” even though they may not have understood what was happening behind the scenes but it comes back to the use and ethics of how algorithms work in the world today. BD