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I AM HUMAN

I went to a medical appointment last week.  Not having met this person before, I was looking forward to meeting my new doctor.  Looking at the lady behind the reception desk, I smiled and said "Hi, my name is Patty."  Without looking up, the receptionist told me to "Go to the kiosk."  I told her my name again and said that I was there for my 10 am appointment.  "Go to the kiosk."  So I clarified that I was there to meet my new doctor.  "Go to the kiosk...enter your information,"  I asked where the doctor was and should have anticipated what came next.  "Go to the kiosk."  I don't think there is any way to describe my frustration.  I no longer felt present.  I felt telepresent.  
     What has happened to our smiles, our storytelling, and a little joshing around now and then?  Now we just get to business, put our business in an interactive terminal and transfer the business to a follow-up website.  
     I do see the advantages of the non-human self-service experience.  It is a low-cost, impersonal efficient record keeper that can reduce paperwork as well as the expense of human staff, but, I remember the days when my doctor used to reach out her arms and put them on my shoulders while asking "How you been honey?"
     I prefer to deal with actual people rather than kiosks.  I like to talk to real folks instead of making friends with someone's voicemail and if my someone is on the telephone with somebody else, I want that lost wisdom of the busy signal that lets me know that my person is around and I should just call back when we are both likely to have more time.

     " Whether it's in our cars, our hospitals or our homes, we'll soon depend on robots to make judgment calls in which human lives are at stake."
                                             - Kristen Clark

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