As a boy running errands, I was always warned about being suckered. Especially while buying groceries. My mom would warn me about the shopkeeper who was prone to sneaking into the paper bag, a cracked egg or a rotten apple. She would tell me to be always on the lookout. Despite being on guard, I would at times get fooled with the odd rotten tomato or a cracked egg. As I grew older I realized the rip-off game wasn’t just about the little shopkeepers. The big fish did it too. I vividly remember the time my brother and I went to Cochin’s biggest automobile dealership to get the car we had booked and paid for. Guess what, the guys at the dealership tried to palm off a dented car by painting and glossing over a side panel on the automobile. Luckily we spotted it and so were ‘saved’.
Being careless and getting ripped-off is now a common phenomenon to me. Except when its machines I am dealing with. Here’s a recent experience. As Ola Autos are off the road due to a strike, the other day I had to depend on one without the Ola tag. As I tell the Auto driver my destination, the first thing he tells me is, I’d have to pay 20 plus for the ride (in addition to the fare on the meter). I negotiate. He drops it to 10. I agree. Now this is in stark contrast to when I use an Ola Auto. Even before I get in I know what the approximate fare for the ride is based on the calculation of the distance the App makes. I know the driver can’t take me on a merry ride around the city ‘cos the application maps the optimal route for me and so on.
I hope you get the drift.
People can rip you off. Machines that are calibrated to perform a certain job will do so sans any nefarious inclinations. People since Adamic times have a ‘fallen’ nature. Machines are free of guile. Of course, its imperfect humans that make our lives colorful, filling it with both joy and sorrow. So I’ll take a human world for all its depth and emotion. Only that when it comes to a ride, I hope I can soon board a driver-less vehicle and not have to worry about being ripped off. You see, you can almost always trust machines (never mind the doubters).
Unlike human beings.