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Fired by a computer - systems gone wild!

Not so long along, a man was fired by a machine - One day he came in to work, found his security pass wouldn't let him in and his computer login had stopped working. 

What caused it? After being escorted out of the building, it took 3 weeks for his bosses to figure out the problem - not his performance, but someone had forgotten to renew his contract in a new computer system and it couldn't be overridden! So a series of automated commands were issued which resulted in him being fired. After finally being reinstated (having to go through the system as a new starter) he tried to explain his escort from the building and subsequent disappearance to colleagues but they became distant... and he decided to move on.

An AI expert has told the BBC: "It's another example of a failure of human thinking where they allow it to be humans versus machines rather than humans plus machines."

Has tech gotten in the way of your work? 

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  • Not directly related but I was recently talking to someone working on a system that identifies through Big Data and statistics who to make redundant. So while your example was very much an automated computer 'error' rather than an AI issue I can see many a problem ahead.

    Apparently people they have shown it to have been telling this person that they are relieved they don't have to make the redundancy decision! He's petrified by it given that it's really not at a stage that it can function properly without human input - and even if it did function properly it doesn't take into account the whole picture so a human still needs to step in as the moral compass and ultimate decision maker.

    Let's hope people don't rely on these things too quickly!