People Think It’s A Good Idea To Teach Computers To Lie To Us

July 19, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

Mark Wilson writes that our computers aren’t always being completely…honest:

  • Facebook has a system which will do a security check of your account. While engaging in the check it shows a loading animation that lasts about ten seconds.
  • The thing is…it doesn’t actually take the system ten seconds to do the check. It’s done much faster. But Facebook is afraid that if it didn’t show the loading animation for as long, users may think that nothing serious is being done to check an account’s security.
  • The lost time can add up. If half of all Facebook users were to do the security check, and it showed the loading animation or five seconds longer than it had to, that’s 29,000 days’ worth of wasted time.
  • “Wasted” is somewhat debatable of course. After all users get value out of the imposed wait. One study found that users preferred it if dating websites pretended to take extra time to find matches for them.
  • The unease with instantaneous results is similar to the discomfort that a dining patron might feel, for example, if an expensive restaurant were to serve food mere seconds after it had been ordered.
  • Many other companies engage in the practice. Wells Fargo had to slow down its security retinal scans to build confidence in the strength of the system.

Read more, and find out about the limits of the loading screen over here.

Source: Fast Company