The machines take over

A recent news item highlighted a problem with credit card fraud. If you do something unusual with your credit card, like go on holiday somewhere exotic, the software which analyses your spending habits will flag up a warning on the company’s computer which will then block your card.

Okay, not a bad security measure against fraud you might think, but what do you do when you do go on holiday somewhere exotic?

The obvious thing to do is to inform the credit card company that you are about to go on holiday and that your card will be in a specified location between certain dates. Simple.

Except that doesn’t work. The news item did not explain why the staff at the credit card company do not act on the information when it is given to them but it doesn’t take an economist to work out why they don’t; it’s probably too unwieldy, too complex and too expensive to adapt the software.

Can anybody else see the thick end of the wedge here? We’re moving into HAL territory, the psychotic computer in ‘2001, a space odyssey’.

The machines are starting to control our behaviour. To continue the movie theme… ‘Be afraid. Be very afraid.’

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