Last weekend we went to admire the wonderful men and the few women, who flew in their flying machines from six meters over a high ramp into the Lake of Zürich. There was not much flying, but the fun this Saturday in July was immense.
Afterwards, as usual, we set off by scooter. We scooted from the Landewiese to Bellevue and found our way to Mövenpick Schifflände for an ice cream. We ordered 2 cokes, a cream coffee and three different balls of ice cream. Then for some time nothing happened. Finally the drinks came. The people at the other tables left and new people came, but our ice cream still did not come. It can’t be that difficult, the three of us thought and called the waitress, who had taken our order in order to remind her that we still had something coming. She came and said with a laugh “I know” and disappeared again.
We waited and slowly it became no longer funny, but frustrating. People came and fetched their ice cream in the shop and left again. We decided to do the same and to wait no longer. As the waitress was there, I went into the shop, asked for the bill and at the same time cancelled the ice cream.
In order at last to move on, I also looked quickly at the price list and added the three drinks together. Two cokes at five francs each and a cream coffee for 4.90 makes 14.90. A high price for the miserable service. OK, one also pays for the view. Again it took an age until the cashier came with her iPad and asked what we had consumed. I listed the three drinks and she replied that there was also ice cream on her iPad.
I looked at her in bewilderment, because five minutes earlier she had listened to me as I cancelled the ice cream. “Good,” she said after a while, “I’ll cancel the ice cream”. What she then did, is a mystery to me. I told her I owed her 14.90. She didn’t reply and tapped madly on the screen. After another 3 minutes she said triumphantly and with relief 14.90 and looked at me with a laugh. I held out the 25 francs.
She looked at the money in surprise and again began to tap on her iPad. Probably how much is 25 less 14.90. After several long minutes she gave me the correct change.
I know that software and hardware are taking over many tasks for us. Why be able to read the map when one can pull out the GPS, why learn something by heart, when Wikipedia can be called up more quickly than it takes to learn the knowledge. But if one can no longer add up three simple amounts in one‘s head, I am scared. The dependency is becoming simply too heavy. Therefore, convenient as it may be, please bear in mind that delegating certain skills to a software can be a dangerous decision.