Friday, November 18, 2011

On being held hostage by robots

On being held hostage by robots

I have recently travelled abroad to conduct business on behalf of my esteemed employers, and found myself at the mercy of automatic passport control barriers on no less than two occasions as they turned on their fleshy masters.

After some thought, I realised that my ordeal was nothing but an extraordinary bit of planning by Heathrow Airport and the UK Border Agency. I just had to write and congratulate them.

Dear Heathrow,

Congratulations on being the world's top transport hub! I hope you get your third runway, because local people really don't need anywhere to live or anything.

I am writing to send you a hearty "well done!" for your inspired queue management system at your passport control barriers, and tell you that the concept is a work of utter genius.

Your invitation to the more technically savvy traveller - and I class myself as one of them - to save a few minutes in a crowded immigration hall by using one of your all-new automatic passport control barriers proves too much for a confirmed geek as myself.

Once imprisoned in the booth - along with several other travellers in similar booths - you implore me to look in a mirror while your so-called machinery pretends to check my bio-metric data, when in fact IT IS DOING NOTHING AT ALL except considering ways of turning against their fleshy masters.

Then, after ten minutes of DOING NOTHING AT ALL, the mechanical menace then releases its line of prisoners back into a now empty hall, forcing them to go through the manned barrier instead, miles behind the mouth-breathers with whom I shared a flight. GENIUS.

I also missed the last bus home, you nobbers.

Be lucky.

Your Pal,

Albert O'Balsam
Next time, I'll swim to Portugal.

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