Come to find out, I haven't had a valid license in 5 years.
There was a mistake in court 5 years ago when I paid a fine (speeding ticket). I have a receipt from court saying all settled/money received but court says they never got money.
So, after talking to a lawyer yesterday I will be paying another $250 for lawyer fees + court costs to get out of the mistake made by the court in another state 5 years ago.
I am lucky. I can pay that. It sucks but some people would be out food money if they suddenly had to pay $500 to drive again.
But, I did nothing wrong (except for speeding 6 years ago which I paid the fine and haven't had any issues since) and am stuck paying for the courts mistake.
Absolutely, court fees and fines disproportionately punish those with low incomes. Increasing enforcement of low level violations by surveillance tech and/or AI is going to crush a lot of people if we don't change that fact.
Proportional fines help, but they aren’t perfectly fair.
The other end of the scale is interesting too - how do you disincentivise/punish for people who don't have any money and just aren't going to pay any fines you give them (i.e. the homeless)?
There are people who just park their car anywhere and paid parking tickets, they really don't care because it was too small amount of money.
If anything, people should realise the level of inequality has become. How unfair and unjust the system has made against the bottom half of the population.
Then someone on minimum wage of $30k will just get demerit points while someone on gross income over $200k will pay $8,500. Given that their “taxable income” after deductions is around $80k they will feel that sting.
I have heard of other countries that have similar systems.
Actually, a fee of 14 days of income sounds crippling to someone who's poor, so that's an example of it not helping at all.
It shocks me a little to think of a 14 days worth of income fine for going 45mph in a 30mph zone, yet when I think of the massive death toll from driving it's very possible my attitudes are not where they should be.
To give an example: there's a school nearby where the sign says 30 km/hour. It is an important road people who live in my neighbourhood, connecting them to their home (commute, shopping, etc). I drive on my bicycle crossing that road. Do I assume people drive 30 km/hour or 50 km/hour? Cause many people drive 50 km/hour there. When kids go to/from school people might drive 30 km/hour, I don't know exactly how that works. Many might not even know there's a school there. Even though the sign says there is, perhaps that gives the mental note: "..but it is Saturday." If we're going to arbitrarily ignore traffic rules whenever we see fit, it is going to lead to chaos.
Even winding mountain passes, which wouldn't be possible to take at 100 km/h without a race car will still have a 100 km/h limit. It's up to the driver to make a judgement as to how fast they can safely drive.
I look at the roads that do have speed limits of 45mph.
> the environment dictates the speed limit
Yep! And the roads I'm talking about are built in the same way with the same environment as the 45mph roads.
I'll back down my "all" to about "90%" though, I remembered a short road where 35 actually fits.
But in general, if we accept that the 45mph roads are actually safe at 45mph, then there's a lot of 35mph roads would be equally safe at 45mph.
Not helping at all sounds exaggerated?
Surely that fines scale with your income make them more even?
Of course a fine may STILL hit harder on someone with less income - but surely this is more "even" than if the rich guy also got a fine of say 500 € which is pocket money for him?
The solution to fines is to simply get rid of fines and instead use a more aggressive "point" system. I'm not wealthy by any means but the threat of a $200 ticket has zero impact on my driving habits whereas the threat of having my license suspended if I get 2 tickets in a 12 month span (a hypothetical example of possible punishment btw) would definitely change how I drive.
I can't really think of any crime that carries a fine rather than revocation of certain rights where this wouldn't work. The only issue is that of enforcement, you have to make the threat of getting caught a second or third time real enough that the punishment becomes psychologically meaningful.
You're assuming the problem that fines address is modifying driver behaviour. It isn't. The primary problem fines address is revenue.
Anecdote time: a friend from one of the nation's major universities was involved in a road authority funded study to evaluate the safety impact of newly installed speed cameras at several intersections.
They found there was none. Said road authority pulled the plug and pretended like the study never existed after that.
This distinction is made very clear, for example in a parliament answer by the justice minister: "...it is clear that the purpose of fines is not to increase the revenue of police departments but first and foremost to deter traffic violations and increase traffic safety."
You're contradicting your own claim.
Just because someone in a PR position says the purpose is not to increase revenue doesn't make it so. It doesn't matter where the revenue goes, the fines generate revenue. If they didn't care about revenue, they'd use penalty points - with the added benefit of not fucking over the lower and middle classes.
Just for fun, I calculated this fraction for a given year. The revenue from all traffic violation fines accounted for a whopping 0.1% of the total state revenue.
So apparently the only purpose of these traffic fines are to raise the state revenue by 0.1%, despite the explicit stated purpose of the legislation and any evidence to the contrary. Does that make sense to you?
Is this one of those things where you just know you're right because you feel it in your gut and nothing can ever convince you otherwise?
That will be the case with any effective punishment. You can be sure they'll fight points just as hard. Ofc still way better than a flat fine.
The points system disproportionately advantages the working poor. Speaking from experience, we have a mixed points+fines system in Poland.
A wealthy person can easily weasel his way out of the points by either having a lawyer argue in court, or - especially in case of automated enforcement like speed traps - simply pay a third party (usually poor person who drives little or not at all) to accept the blame & penalty points in his stead by formally admitting to having been driving during the infraction. I've seen many ads for such exchanges.
Since several kind of jobs directly depend on being able to drive, the law customarily provides a way to shed the points in an expedited way. Typically it involves taking part in road safety courses and/or extra examination. You pay, you attend - or not, if you pay a little extra on the side - and your points get cancelled out. This is much more doable for somebody with expendable income and ability to shuffle work schedule around.
Absent such ability to shed or cancel out the penalty points, any working poor or middle class person who depends on ability to drive to earn the keep is under constant threat of loosing the job. Not a good position to negotiate with the employer.
tl;dr: The points system is unfairly burdensome for the working poor due to the system being much influenced by money. All the points do is to hide away the fact that money gets shit done.
 the fine are fixed, and rather mild from middle class' perspective.
Those fines hurt.
I also think people imagine the super rich having to pay huge fines under this kind of system, but it's the same problem as with taxing the super wealthy. Their income is actually very low relative to the wealth they are accumulating.
> ends up just being a punishment for having a good job.
No; it's a punishment for breaking the law, with (ideally) the punishment scaling to create a similar deterrent to everyone in the society.
If you have no job, you still get a ticket, unless the police officer let's you off the hook or you bribe him (which is very common). I'm not condoning bribing police officers.
It's not just the implementation of the justice system that needs correction; it's working exactly as designed. We have to change the entire design, not the little implementation details.
Jail disproportionately punishes those who are working. (they lose their income source, then they can't pay bills, then their house gets foreclosed, etc.)
Ditching punishment entirely means free-for-all anarchy until somebody takes that opportunity to impose a government with punishments.
What options are left? Torture? Execution? Ignoring the masochists and the suicidal, those don't disproportionately punish people.
Jaywalking was just a "growth hack" that needs to be reverted. Society needed fast transportation, and it was developed at any cost. The cost is now too high, so we just roll it back. No torture required....
Mmmm I dunno about that. Drivers have minimum reaction times and cars have stopping distances. Giving pedestrians the right-of-way in every situation seems like a recipe for a lot of collisions.
It could work, but I think it would involve re-designing countless intersections to provide higher visibility of pedestrians for drivers--not a bad goal, but I think a pretty unfeasible one.
A pedestrian crosses when they feel it is safe to do so, and anywhere along the road they choose. Having started to cross they have priority over traffic. Lately some drivers are less inclined to give way to pedestrians, but the law hasn't changed, and they are still legally obliged to do so. Motorways, of course, have no pedestrians.
The word was originally from jay-drivers. Which was a forgotten American term of abuse for carriage drivers who did not stick to the correct side of the road! Once cars arrived the industry lobbied and jaywalking became a term of abuse for pedestrians, and eventually a law.
Sourced from gov.uk  (ods spreadsheet file), pedestrian fatalities, in 2016, are 7.1 per million population in the United Kingdom; 470 pedestrians killed, and 18.5 in the USA; 5,987 pedestrians killed, confirmed for USA by NHTSA.
For overall road traffic deaths, in 2015 UK 2.9 per 100k population (1,770 total deaths) 22.9% pedestrians, USA 10.6 per 100k (32,719 total deaths, approx 5x the UK population, 18x the total reported deaths) 14.1% pedestrians, source WHO, table A2 .
Every international comparison and US source I found prefers per 100k or million population and agrees with the above. I stopped there, so can't compare the gov.uk doc you linked, or why the US data in BMJ differs so markedly.
 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/ras52-in... (Download RAS52001)
 https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/... (PDF. Note they report per 100,000 not million, so it's 1.85)
Have I got this right?
In the UK it appears they're counting the deaths per billion miles that people walk.
In your BMJ article it appears they're counting deaths per billion miles that people drive.
Pedestrian deaths per billion miles that people drive seems an odd choice of measure.
That's really interesting! I wasn't aware of that.
What happens when a driver hits a pedestrian? Is there an investigation into whether the driver could've stopped in time?
There are of course circumstances where a driver has little chance, like a kid running from between parked cars after their ball, someone not looking, or a cyclist running a light.
The police generally investigate the scene and assess what happened, measure out distances, skid distances to assess driver speed, and seek witnesses etc if there's reason to think circumstances aren't straightforward or there's serious injury or death.
There's also some degree of marshalling on busiest roads by putting up railings in some places to encourage crossing at safer spots, or the crossing a few yards away.
Thanks for the response!
In very general terms, as a pedestrian in the UK, you have no particular right to step into the road other than at marked crossings, but as soon as you do, you have total right of way, no matter how stupid it was of you to step into the road.
There are various crimes in the vein of 'obstructing a public highway' and so forth, so you aren't completely free to be an asshole, but even if you are, it's still on drivers to avoid hitting you; in my experience, this tends to make drivers more careful and aware of nearby pedestrians, so I'm fully in favour of the status quo.
This is independent of legality. I'd hope that it'd be the case even if laws were passed that explicitly punished braking in such a scenario.
Anyway, in the UK, it's illegal to walk down the side of a motorway. But basically anywhere else is free reign for pedestrians.
People don't generally walk out in front of (fast moving) cars because they're not suicidal.
In a place like London it's fun to watch (and take part in) the stand-off between cars and pedestrians though.
I womble through crossings all the time. The lights are advisory for pedestrians. They're designed that way; the green man exists for the elderly and children.
And the picture I have in mind isn't someone suicidally leaping in front of a car, it's someone taking one step to order the cars to stop. This would be fine if there was a "reasonable stopping rate" clause, but it doesn't sound like there is.
The concept of jaywalking has never made any sense to me as a Brit; it's like that joke sign meme of "Danger of death and £20 fine".
Are you picturing bored teenagers doing this as a joke or something? In practice this is incredibly rare.
Such 'feral children' will be causing way worse problems elsewhere anyway.
If you're driving in London and someone gets a bit close to the edge of the footpath and looks like they might walk out, yes, you slow down and get ready to stop. If you actually think they're walking out, you brake hard.
Because you don't want to hit them.
But on a very basic level pedestrians have right of way in old world cities anyway.
There are junctions in Central London whereby cars often struggle to pass even when the light is green (Kings Cross station is a good one, taxi drivers like to "push" people out of the way by edging closer)
That's why I said I'm sure it's fine in practice in my first post.
>If you're driving in London and someone gets a bit close to the edge of the footpath and looks like they might walk out, yes, you slow down and get ready to stop. If you actually think they're walking out, you brake hard.
>Because you don't want to hit them.
You don't want to hit them.
Entirely separately from that, if they force you to slam on your brakes, when you are not being reckless, they should be chastised.
> It's unclear to me what the problem is, here.
Giving someone right of way when they're going to cross the road is fine. But it should not be absolute and instant, forcing cars to brake at 100% power.
Someone on a footpath, giving no signs of wanting to enter the road, could do so in one second. It takes longer than that for a car to stop.
To solve the problem, give cars enough slack to stop at medium braking intensity before the right of way kicks in. That's all. Lack of right of way isn't permission to hit them. It just means they're wrong to be sprinting across the street.
Rest assured, no car driver ever stops in this situation unless the pedestrian is at a zebra crossing.
You shouldn't be driving.
Your first goal, as a driver, should be avoiding accidents. Your second goal should be following the rules of the road.
A human life is more important then enforcing your claim to the right of way.
The driver would be more guilty as they should have been going with a suitable speed and pay attention to the road when driving inside the city.
There are numerous streets and corners that are really poorly lit because of scaffolding/debris/etc.
If I did hit someone at a visibility blind spot I'd expect to be shouted at by the cop too for not slowing down to a speed suitable for the visibility, and that the speed limit is a maximum sir. In that special sarcastic voice, common to all British cops. That might be later reflected in my fine or penalty. :)
For some reason I'm imagining the worst-case scenario of a pedestrian completely oblivious to what's going on around them and just crossing without looking on a busy street, which I realize is pretty unlikely.
Well, the city should light them properly and clean them up then?
> It could work, but I think it would involve re-designing countless intersections to provide higher visibility of pedestrians for drivers--not a bad goal, but I think a pretty unfeasible one.
Jaywalking controls are stupid because:
1. They restrict the freedom of pedestrians.
2. They encourage extra pedestrian crossings, which increases the number of hazards to drivers.
3. They move responsibility for pedestrian safety from pedestrians to drivers.
As a Briton, it always feels like living in some authoritarian, ultra-controlled future to be at a roadside in another country, with no cars within range, and not to be allowed to walk across to the other side.
It is true at junctions. Rule 170.
> 3. Road junctions
> 170. Take extra care at junctions. You should
> Watch out for pedestrians crossing a road into which you are turning. If they
have started to cross they have priority, so give way
The onus is on both to take adequate care, and on drivers to stop in time. The presumption of fault is on the driver. Which is not the same as saying pedestrians have free reign to leap into the path of oncoming vehicles, anywhere they like, expecting traffic to stop on a sixpence. Even though that sometimes seems the done thing in London. After all, pedestrians are expected to only cross when it's safe to do so.
So I'm not quite sure what the GP is getting at, except it's often unwise trying to provide a few sentence summary of anything lengthy on HN. :)
Actually in many countries like the Netherlands and the UK, inside the city pedestrians have priority (right of way) over traffic everywhere. If a pedestrian crosses you stop, no jaywalking BS.
Pedestrians do have right of way inside 'woonerven'.
Now, the fact that pedestrians do not have right of way does not mean cars are going to flatten people with impunity, of course every driver will do what they can to avoid an accident with a pedestrian. But if you step out in traffic on a busy Amsterdam street there most certainly will be an accident, even if everybody will do their best to avoid you, and you will be liable in that case, even if you're part of the mess.
Of course if you just jump into traffic in the last minute you'll be hit, and it will be on you.
You wouldn't except this to happen to the equivalent of the
New Jersey Turnpike, of course. So, on high speed highways, on the other hand, you're often not allowed to randomly cross, except in specific areas.
In some countries like Italy or France it is legal as long as there's no explicit zebra crossing nearby (e.g. without 50 or 100 meters).
In most of the countries, crossing the equivalent of highways or interstates is illegal (except in designated overpasses and such).
Regarding the question about what happens to drivers, here's an example for what's the case in Belgium "any physical damage to a pedestrian caused by a traffic accident shall be compensated by the insurance of the drivers involved, regardless of the responsibility of the pedestrian, except if that pedestrian is over 14 and wanted the accident and its consequences to occur."
What is the purpose of a law that few people follow, and which is never enforced? Shouldn't the laws of a republic reflect the will of the citizens?
I don't think it's smart to allow pedestrians the right-of-way at all times, but I'm also learning that other countries do this already so I'm certainly willing to admit I could be wrong here!
I don't think there is any country with a rule like that. I do think many people are articulating a different rule  badly, making it appear as-if.
 Pedestrians can cross roads everywhere, but only if it's safe to do so and don't obstruct traffic. During the crossing transverse traffic does not have right of way momentarily.
To be honest, I walk quite often and yet I'm absolutely against pedestrian rights as they are today and I believe it's totally impractical and against any common sense having the laws in favour of pedestrians as they are now, nor do I believe it makes roads safer for anyone. In fact if you apply human psychology/behavior inclusive of a person's ability to focus on multiple obstructions, notifications, etc, I'd be willing to bet that drivers are by far overwhelmed in modern cities and that it's reckless disregard for public safety that pedestrians are given absolutely no accountability for their actions beyond dead right or right.
Those were probably killing jaywalkers in ancient Rome.
Pedestrians only need paths, which may have staircases and stepping stones.
Also curious as with the other poster: What happens when a driver hits a pedestrian? Do they do an investigation into whether the driver could've stopped in time/was traveling the speed limit/etc?
Here's an article from 2010 saying they hadn't given a single ticket in Boston or Cambridge in years. To my knowledge they still don't give out the tickets. I've certainly jaywalked in front of cops in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Quincy without penalty for decades. So even if it's in the state law it's not enforced around Boston.
I lived in the Seattle area for a couple years and that's the only time in my life I ever saw a person penalized for jaywalking and I was shocked to see it. One of the reasons I'm glad to be back in Boston.
Yes. And the driver has the burden of proof. They drive in a city, so they should have appropriate distance from anything in front of them, and go slow enough to stop. What if it was a kid running into the street?
Here's the lowdown from a UK solicitor:
This doesn't make sense. Crossing pedestrians go across the road, so if you are driving on a lane next to the sidewalk, then you could only go in first gear hovering the brakes, because any pedestrian on the sidewalk could start to cross the road in ~one second or less and would have right of way. Basically all streets would be zebra crossings. Obviously not how it works.
Cars are also much more predictable. They have lines that show where they're going, (usually) signal before changing direction, and (IME) are much more likely to obey red lights. I rarely see cars simply ignore a red light, but I see pedestrians do it all the time.
The way we doll out punishment in America ends up being a slap on the wrist for the rich and wealthy and devasting for the poor and minorities.
"[Your] laws are no different from spiders' webs. They'll restrain anyone weak and insignificant who gets caught in them, but they'll be torn to shreds by people with power and wealth".
Here in Finland the record speeding ticked is over 100,000 euros.
One guy in Switzerland received $1 million speeding ticket for driving his Mercedes SLS AMG over 280 km/h. That's how hit should be.
If they really don't matter, why forbid them at all?
For things that are worth forbidding, scaling is surely necessary to create a meaningful disincentive for the rich, without destroying the poor by setting very high flat fines.
But victimless "crimes" don't need punitive discouragement the way other harmful activities might. Jaywalking, speeding, turning right from the left lane, these things happen hundreds of times a day in a city, and spottily enforced huge fines are not likely to address whatever societal harm these activities might cause. There are probably better ways to spread and encourage the small social norms that allow society to function. Leave large fines for large harm.
The goal of fine is discourage. The same fine for all relative to income provides more equal discouragement.
When it comes to crimes like that, you want to absolutely lower the ceiling for the few as well, and scaling fines is the way to do it.
That's what they teach you anyway. The reality - e.g. ridiculously expensive medical bills, widespread poverty - is rather different, so I hear.
e.g. see The US has a lot of money, but it does not look like a developed country https://qz.com/879092/the-us-doesnt-look-like-a-developed-co...
Feel free to propose a punishment that isn't disproportionate to somebody. I don't think such a punishment exists, aside from crazy edge cases like "do not enforce the law".
Go ahead. Try to make a suggestion that won't punish some people more than others.
In case it makes you feel any better about the system of fines, we can say that the disproportionate impact is itself a punishment for the lifestyle choices that lead to being poor. OK, that is awful, but it's some sort of justification.
I mean basically you have a computer system where the court system, law enforcement and DMV are all saying your license is expired for failure to pay...when you actually paid. Now you are getting more tickets and basically stuck in an infinite loop of hell.
I’m currently going through the same thing with my Bank (BOA), where my car window was smashed my wallet (credit and debit card stolen) and cards were used by the 2 theives at footlocker for ~$500. The bank software even caught the fraud first and texted me about suspicious activity on the cards before I knew what happened, the cards were reported stolen, I have a police report, but Bank of America keeps denying my claim saying they investigated and the purchase was legit because my “chip was present” even though they know the card was stolen and used by the theives. When I talk to a person it’s always “oh let me reinitiate a new claim and I’ll make detailed notes, you should definitely get your money back, that makes no sense.” Automated claim comes back “denied. Valid transaction, chip present.”
Like you I will probably have to take legal action to sort this out, at least in my case I’m a lawyer and can file a small claims case without paying a lawyer, but i will have to front the filing fees out of pocket and it will still cost me time/effort.
My preferred strategy is repeated escalation mixed with what I'd call some variant of baby language.
"You owe me X, please send me X, your internal processes are broken, please send me X".
"No, I don't care about your internal processes, you owe me X, please send me X."
"You haven't sent me X yet; can you send me X or do I need to initiate legal action?"
So far this has always resulted in me actually getting the X I'm rightfully owed. One day it probably won't. Sigh.
Amazon in particular have been amusing WRT this. "Our internal procedure takes X days..." At that point I usually cut them off and remind them that it's none of my business how they run things internally; what I want is resolution for the issue I'm facing.
It took almost a month to get a refund whilst Amazon 'investigated'. Yes, it was eventually fixed, but not without a huge amount of 'process says this and that' warbling.
> it will still cost me time/effort .
In my country, costs can be added to the claim. Is it not the same in the US?
Attorneys fees are more complicated and the general rule is actually that each party bears it’s own attorneys fees, but there are many execrations from statutes authorizing them in certain types of cases and situations or if a contract includes a provision providing for them. It’s possible one or more contracts I have with the bank includes such a provision, I’d have to look at my credit card agreement (it may even require mediation, but that’s part of the small claims process in my jurisdiction anyway). Also It’s typically not allowed that a lawyer representing themselves can be awarded fees.
So if a client refused to pay you $3000, you take them to small claims court for $3500 or whatever (you have to convince the court that these extra charges for the bailiff fees, your transport to and from court, etc, are just).
But, I guess that proves what they say about assumptions!
There are other sorts of 'administrative' fees that are nearly impossible to waive. Things like license reinstatement, points surcharges, and costs from MVC (DMV) usually can't be waived by the court as it isn't the court that imposes them.
Did you try just going into the office of the clerk of the court with the receipt and saying "hey there's been a mistake."
(I'm not from the US, I have no idea how yours look - in Europe we have that on an A4 paper)
I was on the receiving end of one of these years ago. Pulled over and arrested for missing payments on a few tickets. The tickets were paid prior and they eventually realized their mistake, but I still had to pay the jail processing fee.
It sucks, and things could certainly be better, but saying that the entire justice system is "screwed" is a pretty harsh indictment.
Why. Is. This. Not. Free? Righting a wrong done to you, specially small ones, should be completely free.
What if you had to pay the cost of every bug you created? I'm sure a lot of us developers would be digging ditches instead. :)
Not sure that's the best solution here, but the assumption that "no one would do the work" is likely not correct.
I'm also not sure exactly how bonding would work in jobs where blame is hard to determine, or not attributable to a single individual (ie systemic issue). Perhaps that's one of the reasons it's not done more commonly.
In my state, NJ, anyone can bring a disorderly person in front of a judge or detain someone who's suspected to have committed a major crime. However, it never happens because if we were incorrect then all sorts of civil and criminal claims could be made for injuries and/or false imprisonment.
We scoured the state's criminal law and found out members of law enforcement were relieved from liability if they were wrong about the above.
The other job that was exempt from liability was librarian. Apparently, a librarian can tackle someone suspected of stealing a book and it's ok under NJ law. 
I'm confused. Do you live in China or the US. Because the article talks about China.
As an aside this is a good reminder to keep forever any receipts for settlements with courts, the IRS, or other regulators.
Because they're the ones with the power to give your license back, so you either do what they say or spend the next year without a license trying to work out what went wrong. They're the court - nothing happens to them when they screw up.
However I got a $285 ticket proving it yesterday. Courts aren't open on the weekends so my lawyer will be figuring it out tomorrow.
I will be in the DMV first thing in the morning to try to get a new license so I can travel home (went to parents house for Holiday). I have to pay a $65 reinstatement fee tomorrow to get a new license as well.
I assume the payment did not triggered the right things to mark the fine as payed, or someone made a mistake a number somewhere and something failed. You should always keep your receipt for a while or forever (keep energy/phone bills for a few months)
People aren't going to trust a receipt over the system they use. It's as simple as someone checking their computer seeing that OP never paid and then forwarding it to the right place. It's not like the cop has the power to override the system because that would be nightmare in terms of accountability and potential abuse.
Yea, it sucks and it's unfair, but there's nothing unbelievable about it. For any set of rules, there are always going to be people that fall through the cracks.
Computers Don't Argue by Gordon R. Dickson
A man has a complaint with his book club, but a series of errors escalate things alarmingly.
The Wikipedia article has the whole plot:
I miss used bookstores, most of the big ones in my city have closed down
I also regret the loss of so many used bookstores ... one of my favorite haunts. We can only try to visit the survivors much more often.
Similarly, Google could have a mostly automated system detecting violations and such, and also a good human support system with power to override the decisions of the former; the two are not really incompatible.
While that's true in the abstract, I don't think it's true in present society. Both private companies and government are under near-constant pressure to cut costs, and the people who are charged with implementing those cuts will be tempted to under-resource the human override team or cut it entirely. Quality of service isn't the priority.
"Think of all of the money people are saving by allowing businesses to refuse service to disabled people."
A system with massive net positive social utility does not alone justify injustice for a few.
They said the same thing about banking when we got ATM's. But banking has only gotten worse, more impersonal, and more frustrating and alienating for the average person.
I'm not nearly old enough to remember prior to ATMs. But I love ATMs. I only have to go inside the bank to do things once every few years. Everything else is on the phone or ATM. And the people I deal with on the phone are almost always very helpful and knowledgeable.
I know people have a lot of trouble with some of the big banks like Bank of America and Chase. But those aren't issues with the banking industry but those specific companies. There's plenty of smaller banks and credit unions who don't exploit their customers at every opportunity.
I am. When ATM's started to become a thing, we were told that with ATM's automating the basics, the bankers and tellers would have more time for more personalized service, Banks would lower fees through cost savings, and we'd all have higher interest rates on our savings because the banks would save so much money.
None of those things happened. Things just got worse.
A couple of years ago I tried to get a loan. A credit union I tried to approach wouldn't let ask questions of someone on the phone, or in a branch, until I'd cleared the computer's online pre-screening.
At another bank (Chase), a banker sat down with me, but was not able to discuss my finances in any way. All he could do was punch my information into his computer, and give me the same information I would have gotten by doing the same process online.
Citibank, at least, let me talk to someone in person who seemed interested in my business. But then I went on vacation, and by the time I returned two weeks later, the offer was no longer valid and I was referred to the web site.
Again, things have gotten worse not better. Just because you're too young to know that things were once better doesn't mean they're not worse.
My needs are more... complex.
Last century, when I was a teenager, somebody set up a bank in the UK with an understanding of where all this is going. I have been with that bank ever since for my day-to-day banking needs.
The First Direct bank. They don't have any branches, they pay the same fees as other banks for there to be ATMs that work with their cards, and they own a web site and so on.
Instead of spending money on big solid-looking buildings people rarely visit, they run a massive 24/7 call centre, and all the call centre employees are trained to provide the entire service, since that's all they do. Absolutely every eventuality I've encountered was handled by telephoning them and then talking to a human. I often don't call them for six months at a time, but I've also had period when I called five times a day.
One day, still last century, I lost my wallet. Oh dear. I wanted to go out with friends, but I had no money, no cards. So I telephoned my bank. "Where are you?" they asked, because this was last century, so I was just a random voice with no indication of location. They looked up where I was, located some other bank building nearby and sent me there, then negotiated with that bank to give me cash.
This century, but a few years back, I bought somewhere to live. This involved a very large transaction. I phoned the bank, walked through exactly what I was doing and why, confirmed the transfer details and then they explained that no single employee of the bank is authorised to wave through such a transaction and I should expect to receive a phone call from another employee, who would confirm all the details again and then they could both authorise it. So I spoke to two people, for maybe a total of twenty minutes. Which considering the eye-watering sum of money that was about to just magically vanish from my account seems OK.
I don't understand why people would put up with any other sort of bank. I particularly don't understand people who are too busy to "go to the bank" on week days and then moan about it. This is 2018, I already didn't have to "go to the bank" in 1998. Get a better bank.
Disclosure: I know several people working there but I have never used my contacts for preferential customer service, nor would I expect that the service could be better than the standard one.
Generally, I think that the incredible gains from automation are possible but require a lot of internal changes to make sense; changes that most companies do not have the leadership to conduct. This s why new actors often take advantage of those. I suspect that’s why Google replaced Encyclopedia Brittanica and countless more examples.
I'm glad somebody is eating UK banks' lunches though, since they're universally awful.
They've added (this week) the ability to pay in small amounts of cash through the Paypoint network (https://monzo.com/blog/2018/11/21/deposit-cash/) and I believe they'll eventually add support for paying in thorough Post Office branches too. It's still pretty limited, but it's a start!
How do you order foreign currency?
Honestly I had no idea people even used their bank to do this!
I do this all the time. Citibank has a service called World Wallet where you call a number, and they'll FedEx you whatever currency you want anywhere in the world in 24-48 hours.
I used to just use the American Express offices when I traveled, but as my travel got more interesting, AmEx outlets became less common. Also, AmEx started only stocking popular currencies, while the Citi service delivers pretty much any currency that's legal where you are.
Yes, I'm being facetious, sorry. But it's a good example of how automation enabled more than just cost-cutting.
I don’t have that use case but yes, they have announced a service to do that.
> How do you order foreign currency?
I would typically use my card at ATMs in a foreign country (which comes with a small fee above a certain amount). In practice, I almost always need cash abroad for reasons covered by work-related expenses, and I keep those transactions on my Revolut account.
This explains why slightly inept well meaning companies shy away from such escalation paths.
I wonder about the stats on appeals in court. How many are successful. How many go to an appeal at all. How costly is a single appeal / how costly is the average successful appeal.
That said, even the system you're describing and with a 100% escalation rate should be cheaper than a fully manual process. The problem is that those "well meaning" companies aren't; their goal is to minimize cost, stopping only if it drops their revenue. But no system will be good with such goals.
Maybe that's the way to go. I know many volunteers answer Google's forums.
Chances are it wants to automate 100% (or at least 99.99%) of it jobs and will strive to achieve that, while considering any human cost as "friction" or inefficiency that needs to be eliminated.
Justice systems are always about exceptions. Computers handle exceptions EXTREMELY poorly.
A justice system should be required to have a human on record for every action taken against another human being. The computers can be used to verify this, but they should not be allowed to be primary.
*Obviously "you" means your organization, company, etc. and not necessarily some random office clerk.
It's one of the least automated systems (ie, employing technology to reduce inefficiencies) of all industry 'niches' in the western world.
Law enforcement might be using technology to dole out punishment/fines more efficiently, but the actual justice system that civilians have to deal with after getting fined or charged (ie, the world of lawyers, judges, and courts) is extremely backwards in their use of humans, paper, fax machines, etc. Not using even basic technology. The justice system is famous for the extreme slowness for the amount of human-time required in processing of even the most basic small details.
By eliminating the amount of human-time (by a hired lawyer or oneself) that each person has to engage the systems (for example by missing work or paying with money instead of time) would do a lot of help the poor better deal with the justice system - and get better and fairer treatment by the system.
The justice system is a big boulder at the top of a mountain. Once an arrest or accusation sets in it motion, unless you are powerful and or wealthy, it will do what boulders do, it can do no different. It is not cognizant, it just is.
It takes immense resources to stop or avoid this boulder. Resources far exceeding even the well-to-do often times.
The system is there to win cases and incarcerate and my god does it do just that.
Innocent or not, the system moves humans.
Do not pray the jury hears your side, pray you never get so much as accused. Look up the conviction rates for district attorneys across the country. You tell me, does that look justice?
We would hope so. It could also mean far worse things are happening. We’ve all seen documentaries and news shows of people wrongly convicted. Why do we think the only incidences are the ones reported.
I’ve watched detectives lie on the stand when a guilty verdict was already in hand. Why do that? How do they treat the innocent if that’s how they act when the facts of the case are enough to convict?
"caught in a Kafkaesque nightmare"
I've been meaning to read kafka one day. Is there a title in specific you would recommend to start with?
Imagine if the justice system was like Apple's App Store acceptance/rejection system.
Sorry for putting that in your head, y'all.