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Deus Ex Machina

December 16, 2013

We expect a lot from automation. It should free us from the mundane, and be consistent, reliable and fast. But where do we humans belong in this process?

The ancient Greek poets and authors warned against the concept of “deus ex machina.” The phrase translates to god from the machine, but mainly it is used in the context of a plot device that solves all of the problems of a story. Have we all not been in the author’s shoes and found ourselves at the end of a complex problem looking for an easy way to resolve all of the issues?

Larry Wall, the inventor of the Perl programming language, famously stated laziness is a virtue for programmers. On the surface, this sounds counter-productive, but he is simply saying that we should preserve our efforts for higher tasks by finding ways to automate away the drudgery.

At Peak 10, we are always looking to improve the quality and speed of our services. We look to automation as a key component of that cycle of continuous improvement. We are investing the majority of our internal development efforts into automating the daily tasks that keep our team members from spending time thinking and working on the higher problems – our customers’ challenges. We do not believe that we can simply replace customer service with a web page or interactive phone support. But we can build tools that empower our customers to do more on their own and allow our team to rapidly assist them when needed.

The goal of automation should not be to save us from ourselves, but to make time for us to do what only we can do.

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About Peak 10

"Our values are the foundation for everything we do at Peak 10, and are ultimately what enable us to earn our customers' business and their trust."
David H. Jones,
Board Member, Peak 10 + ViaWest