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Analog Button

Get more humanlike responses from machines
  [vote for,

At work I notice individuals pushing the elevator button several times, usually when they are impatient and in a hurry. We can easily see the futility in this activity. It is as though the user is trying to use an essentially digital (pushed/not-pushed) system as though it were analog (pushed more, pushed harder). People crossing at the street corner near my house might intellectually *know* that batting at that button fifty times in a row is ineffectual, but what if we changed the mechanism somewhat so that pushing the button more or harder could be detected. Mr. X on the 5th floor hit the button 5 times at 3 lbs. of pressure, but Ms. Y on the 3rd floor hit hers about 55 times at about 15 lbs. of pressure. The poor elevator at the 4th floor would make the obvious choice, and perhaps our machines would make a little more sense.
trentd, Feb 07 2001


       Obviously, it would pick up Ms. Y so as not to encourage Mr. X's anti-social behavior.
beland, Feb 07 2001

       You could build up profiles of how people push the button and identify individuals. Give the lift a personality so that it responds differently when the button is pushed multiple times - sometimes it gives you instant attention and other times it will ignore you and make you wait your turn or wait longer.
goodie, Feb 07 2001

       I wonder, back in the day, when elevator operators were commonplace, if people could or would convince the operator that they were in a special hurry and that the elevator should go directly to their floor before servicing the other passengers.
egnor, Feb 07 2001

       Maybe rushed passengers would poke and prod the operator repeatedly, others only once.
Monkfish, Feb 07 2001

       You'd have to know whether the operator enjoyed it or not.

[Footnote: I saw 'The Apartment' as half of a double bill with 'Some Like it Hot' last year at Palo Alto's Stanford Theatre. Priorities might change if your elevator operator was a very young Shirley MacLaine]
hippo, Feb 07 2001

       Heehee...I forgot all about Mrs. Bottomsly... but seriously, this "rapid button-punching" exists in many different walks of life....how....to....get rid....of it...must.........think......
trentd, Feb 08 2001

       I've seen lifts with a close button that was never connected. The disconnected button was nevertheless worn out!
FloridaManatee, May 18 2003

       I confronted an elevator repairman at my office building last year about the "door close" button. He confirmed that the button does *absolutely nothing* unless the building's fire alarm has been activated.   

       Personally, I think buildings with 8 or more elevators should have one or more little button pods by the elevator lobby entry area where you'd press the button corresponding to the floor you wanted to reach and tell it how many people were in your group. The system would quickly analyze the current work queue and elevator distribution and assign you to whichever cab was most likely to get you to your destination the fastest. To keep things moving well and punish liars, they could have a minimum-wage attendant sitting behind a video wall to act like a sanity check if somebody claimed to have more than 2 people in their group... if someone said there were "10" people in the group to bump his priority higher and the attendant caught him, he could be punished by being sent to the worst possible cab (preferably, one that would stop at lots of floors EXCEPT his on the way up, keep going all the way to the top, and stop at a lot more floors to pick up passengers before finally letting him escape from elevator hell -- hopefully, having learned his lesson.)
miamicanes, May 19 2003

       Of course the real solution to the problem is to have the system be more transparent, more self-documenting. For instance you could have a display of exactly how the traffic signal is programmed-- who's going to get to go next and when. When you press the button you can see that "walk signal for maple street" has entered the queue, and exactly how many seconds are left until you'll be allowed to go. If you try pressing the button again, you'll observe that it doesn't advance you one whit in the queue, and you'll get the clue. <3
mungojelly, Nov 14 2005


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