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they ask me a question, and I point to a number on the return, and say, "OK, but is that the right number?"
Response: (Deer-in-the-headlights stare) "Well, I ASSUME so. (the program) calculated it."

When I was starting out in the USAF all those years ago, the service was switching over to automated systems, and I got to learn one of them (can you say SAGE?). As we were being trained on the automated system, the instructor occasionally would reach over and shut off the computer's calculation capability, saying, "Go manual." And all too frequently, Bonnie or Clyde would invite us to go manual by malfunctioning.

We learned to use the automation for all it was worth, and we learned to do things manually, also. That last is a skill--a requirement--that is lost to today's youth. Even the assembly line worker, whose sole role today seems to be to rubber stamp the robot's decisions.

Eric Hines
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