An interesting thought - voting machine "glitches"

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A good thought from Atomic Fungus:

Do you think a store could function for very long if every once in a while the cash register randomly gave a customer extra change?

Let's say that Target buys a bunch of cash registers, and after some time has elapsed, someone at one store notices that revenue is down. They dig into the receipts of one cash register and discover that every so often, completely at random, it has a "glitch" that gives a customer 10% more change than he's due. So if you bought a candy bar and paid with a dollar bill, instead of getting $0.11 back you got $0.12. Buying a new TV for $278 after tax, paying with three Benjamins, instead of getting back $22 you get back $24. Like that. But the "glitch" absolutely never goes the other way and accidentally charges 10% more for an item. It's always in the customer's favor; and they find that all their cash registers (it's a SuperTarget and they have 30 of them) do the same thing. Even the "self-serve" ones.

Do you think Target would just shrug off that kind of behavior? Or do you think the instant the "glitch" was discovered they'd have the manufacturer sending out techs to each and every store to fix it ASAP?

Do you think they would just have that one store, the one where it was discovered, fixed? Or would they demand that all the stores' cash registers of this model be checked for it, and repaired?

The situation is pretty analogous to the question of counting votes. You have a scanner which takes marks on objects and converts them into digital data. It tallies up a total amount based on what is scanned. You absolutely cannot have that machine ever have a "glitch" that randomly changes that tally; it must be 100% accurate--there are laws--and if it's ever wrong it has to be taken out of service until it can be fixed.

This kind of error would be absolutely unacceptable for a business. Why is it okay for voting machines, which are arguably more mission-critical that cash registers?

He offers a couple more thought-experiments. His website is a daily read for me.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on November 10, 2020 7:20 PM.

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