Press Coverage

Retail Armageddon is the Least of Our Worries

Retail Armageddon, APM Digest

TARGET'S TECH TROUBLES COST THEM BUSINESS, BUT WHAT’S AT STAKE WHEN MISSION-CRITICAL SOFTWARE DECIDES TO WREAK HAVOC ON OUR TRANSPORTATION, FINANCES, AND HEALTHCARE?

In a post-apocalyptic world, shopping carts filled with items sit motionless in aisles, left abandoned by the humans who have mysteriously disappeared. At least that's the cliche scene depicted by sci-fi filmmakers over the past two decades. The audience is left to wonder what happened to force people to stop what they were doing and leave everything behind.

If this past weekend was any indication, Armageddon begins when Target's cash registers shut down.

Armageddon begins when Target's cash registers shut down
We have come to expect technology to just, well, work. It has become so integrated into our everyday lives that we hardly give any thought as to what it actually takes to make the complicated code do the things we want it to. We let technology take the wheel even though it's capable of driving us off a cliff.

The Target Corporation endured two days of checkout chaos. Target lost millions of dollars in revenue but received millions of dollars in bad publicity. Its stock fell. People notice disasters, even minor ones.

While Twitter users described #targetdown as "frustrating," "chaotic," and "Armageddon," imagine the potentially life-altering effects of technology failure in other areas we've given it power:

■ Self-driving cars

■ Analysis in medical data

■ Assessment in academics

■ AI-based legal preparation

■ Algorithms determining online loan approval

■ Algorithms for news feeds

Read Barry Morris' full article on APM Digest

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