Humans Vs Technology

There is a general concern that machines are going to take over our jobs and we’ll end up being homeless and eventually die. In this ‘humans vs technology’ war we, humans, still have some effective weaponry in our arsenal; rational judgment.

We could teach a machine to play chess, to find an article you need to read, to place an ad based on your interests, but we still can’t teach a machine to think and make a rational judgment.

A few days ago, I had an issue with my PayPal account. For some reason, I was obliged to confirm my identity before I could make any further purchases. To reactivate my account, I needed to supply my ID (passport, driver’s licence, or national ID) and the proof of my address.

The first one was no problem, but the proof of address seemed as an issue because only acceptable forms of verifying your address were through National ID (for Chinese citizens only) so that leaves me out; utility bills, which also leave me out since they are  handled by my landlord; bank statements, which leaves me out because all my bank accounts are registered in Beijing and meanwhile, I moved to Rui’an which is 1,000 miles on the south from the capital of China. Opening a bank account in China became more difficult, and I don’t know if I could make a new one.

That meant that I was doomed. No PayPal, means I need to change my hosting and domain provider to local or Hong Kong, no more MailChimp, Google or Facebook ads, no more Scribd or any other paid software for writers.

Luckily, these issues are not handled by the machines. I emailed PayPal support describing my problem. The other day I’ve got a reply.

They’ve told me that I can submit any legal document which has my name and my address on it and I happened to have one – An accommodation registration from the local police station.

I’ve submitted a document, and it was reviewed in a matter of hours.

Problem solved thanks to a human being. If the machine was on the other side of the line, I would still need to submit the documents listed on the PayPal’s website.

Humans 1 : Technology 0