Are we Computers??

I have come across the words “PROCEDURE”, “PROCESS”, “RULES” etc innumerable times. These are the two most common words that we get to hear day in day out in almost all work places. We follow these to make our life easy and disciplined. They help us in organizing things according to certain guidelines. Procedures tell us what to do when and how to respond in certain situations. Ex: In a bank, when someone wants to open an a/c, there is a procedure First fill up a form, then provide documents like ID proof, address proof, then it will be verified by the authorized person, then a/c is opened. We follow such procedures in every walk of life. And in order to have a check if we are following the procedures, we have auditors.     But what seems funny to me is when I compare the procedures to the codes written by our software experts. They are also a set of rules that the computer needs to follow. No questioning, no deviations. Follows the rules as written “ IF, THEN, ELSE” the three most important words. But has anyone wondered why we being humans, are so much bothered about the procedures that we are behaving like computers, lifeless, brainless, heartless. Cannot take logical decisions. Just like computers who just follow the codes written by the experts.     I was once witnessing a discussion on a case study, which was given to the students of an engineering college. It was about a pickup and drop facility given by a corporate to its employees. As per the rules, the cab would wait at a particular point for 3 min and if the employees do not come, the cab would leave. Once a senior employee is late and he is not picked up. He complains to the concerned person about this. He said he was just crossing the road, when he saw the cab leaving. He even waved to the driver. But he did not notice. When the driver was asked, he said I just followed the rules. This became a major issue. Now the students started arguing that the driver was right. He was following the rules. But this was actually a case of common sense. What do we usually do when we are waiting for someone and he/she is late? We just look around to see if he/she is nearby before leaving the place. The driver could do just that, and he would have seen that employee waving to him while crossing the road. Was he a computer? No. He was a human being with common sense.      This was just a small example. We come across many such incidences when we feel that the rules, the procedures are actually hindrances in some cases. We get to hear from the executives “ Sorry sir, that’s our procedure and we have to follow it”. Those Procedures that are made for our as well as others convenience are actually doing just the opposite. After all who has made these procedures? We. Then why is that we are not able to take a deviation in certain genuine cases where it is necessary? Being surrounded by computers, we have forgotten that we are humans, we are also behaving like one of them. Lifeless, Brainless, heartless, incapable of taking logical decisions.

Author: Jyothi G, MBA (HR), Counsltant

(Amrita Foundation thank the author for the article, the views and opinions mentioned in the article are of author)



2 thoughts on “Are we Computers??

  1. Jyothi, I understand your point that when you say that when create a system we must be humane and understanding to everyone’s needs. But I believe that in your example the students have a valid point. In fact, this scenario is most common in India. We think it is ok to delay things a bit here and there because everyone would wait. So what if it was matter of 5 mins or even 1 min. The problem is about everyone’s time and of the system becoming broken.

    Compare this with a developed nation like UK. People actually follow the rules that they have set for themselves. It is NOT okay to break them. Do people think it is heartless? Probably. But do they think the alternative is better? No. They know trains leave on time, offices start on time and traffic follows rules. They are able to plan their lives around it. In India, it is impossible to plan our lives unless we buffer for everyone’s delays. It is impossible to drive in a sane and sensible way. We have the worst roads and an equally blatant violation of every traffic rule.

    Our ‘adjust maadi’ culture has brought us this far. Why not build better systems and follow them for a change?

    1. Hello Arun. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments. Well I definitely agree with your point that we need to follow rules. But here I am talking about deviations from procedures in order to facilitate something good. Breaking rules is a different issue. The example I quoted was just a small one. To make things clear, I am giving another scenario.

      A student wants to apply to a particular university for Phd. Now the university has instructions that the application form should be accompanied by a transfer certificate from his previous institute. This is their “Procedure”. He requests his institute for the same. He gets a reply saying that they cannot give it to the student. The University has to send the request in a particular format and the TC would be sent to them directly. This is their “Procedure”. This situation seems like a deadlock. Does it mean he can never apply to that university? Now one of these (The university or the institute) have to think logically and take a deviation so that a prospective scholar can undertake his research work. Of course he can apply to other universities who dont have these requirements. But what I am trying to emphasize upon is that we have stopped thinking about why these rules were made in the first position.

      I hope I was able to put across my view clearly with this example. I am sure many of us may have gone through such situations when we start thinking that the whole system is wrong and feel frustrated.

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