Friday, 5 May 2017

Human Interfaces

The Brexit thing between May and juncker takes me back to my I.T. days. Back when I worked in Interactive Voice Systems, I did a lot of research into human-machine interaction. I could write reams on how or why unsuccessful IVR systems are unsuccessful.

But the Brexit issues boil down to the same problems. Lack of undertstanding or empathy.

When writing the software for IVR systems, you need to understand the needs of the other party, the customer dialling into the system.

You also need to communicate your needs clearly, so they understand what is required of them to make the negotiation between them and the machine work properly.

You need to also undertsand the nuances of language both whilst communicating your needs and also during their interaction with you. It's so frustrating to talk to someone and for them to not acknowledge with some sort of response. We instantly become unsure as to whether our message has been heard.

In an IVR system, the simple addition of a "Thank you" prompt after each input signals that the machine has heard something. If that input doesn't match the system's requirements then should prompt there has been an error and ask for input again. In essence, the negotiation between the two becomes as natural as normal conversation, because the machine is programmed to respond with an approximation of human interaction.

The Brexit debacle between the UK and the EU is similar. Two poeple talking at each other without an particular empathy towards to other's position.

Theresa may is a leader, she doesn't need to enter into details, she will talk of the big picture, making big descisions and it's for junior ministers in government to action those ideas and take care of the details.

Junker despite his position, is no leader. He appropriates the concensus of others and aproximates leadership, but he doesn't have the ability to make big unilateral decisions. He's a beareaucrat, he loves the detail.

So, the two of them are talking at odds because they are talking about different aspects of the same issue, not because they disagree. Either they have failed to understand each other's different perspective, or the language and interpretation was a bit dodgy, or they just want to set out each other's position. They are talking at each other and not talking to each other. It is not a conversation, it is rhetoric, and for the medai to protray it as anything else is wrong. May is not in a different galaxy, nor is Juncker bombastic.

Either way, the media have now jumped on the bandwagon and portrayed it as a massive rift between the two sides, when actually there isn''t one.

It's going to be like this for the most part through the Brexit negotiations. Until two underlings of equal status and at the same level sit on each side of the negotiating table and start to work on the minutiae of the deals, only then will we get any sense of what actually the Brexit deal entails.

So, ignore anything coming out of the media for the next 18 months. They will play up the minutest difference in position, make mountains out of minute molehills, just to make headlines.

It ain't over until it's over.

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