Dennis Desmond: Override the algorithms

  • Blooming cherry trees on Warfield Place. Gazette file photo

Published: 7/19/2021 2:01:48 PM

In my career in IT, much of it banking back office systems, we would often write code that enforced algorithms. Bank staff could manage customers’ accounts depending on their level of authority.

Sometimes, when presented with a task that was of benefit to the customer, a staff person would be blocked from executing it by the algorithm that was in play. In this case, the staff person would elevate the matter to a manager, who had more authority based on his or her login credentials, and the manager would override the algorithm as he/she thought it was in the best interest of the customer and did no harm to the bank’s fiduciary responsibility.

In the matter of pending Department of Public Works work at Warfield Place, we need to override the algorithm as there is a clear benefit in doing so to local customers. The local manager, in this case the mayor, has the proper authority, and the override would bring no lasting damage to the city of Northampton.

If we choose to be a city governed by human beings and not algorithms, we will find ourselves with happy customers.

Dennis Desmond


Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061


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