Removing Humans From the Travel Equation?

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» Posted by on Jan 25, 2015 in Industry Postings, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

I was struck by a comment in Section 3a.5 of the training materials, “TMC/CTO Support,” in which it is stated: “It was projected early in the development of the electronic travel systems that they would entirely replace travel agencies.”

The expectations of computerization often surpass the realities of automated systems that are, first and foremost, designed and constructed by fallible human hands. Add to that the potential for system crashes, computer viruses, hacking, power outages, WiFi service disruption, and the myriad other possible crises facing modern technology on a daily basis, and any reasonable mind should be able to rule out the possibility of a system for governing any process that can be fully automated.

When the anchor of a single ship can temporarily disable high-speed internet service to no less than five African nations, one must assume the need for a back up support network that is adaptable to situations devoid of 21st Century technology. Even companies such as Google and Facebook, both of which are founded on the reality of a society linked 24/7 to the modern digital world, have come under criticism for not having readily available service centers staffed by human beings to answer calls from frustrated users and customers.

The assumption of fully automated systems also discounts the varying levels of computer savvy among the users. An automated system, regardless of its capabilities, is only as useful as the people using it are educated about its capabilities and comfortable with its procedures. Even if only 0.5% of the potential 3.5 million DOD military and civilian users require assistance beyond an online or printed manual, there will be 17,500 people searching for a living, breathing source of help. That sounds like enough to keep a few humans busy for the foreseeable future.

By: Mark Feggeler

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