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When will things break? Predictive analytics will soon warn us

When will things break? Predictive analytics will soon warn us

Last week the most dreaded words in the English language flashed before me — "check engine."

That’s how my Friday afternoon commute went: a peaceful drive, then traces of white smoke, clicking noises, warning lights, anxiety and acceptance. My car was dead.

I’m known to be a bit on the frugal (cheap) side. I have a tendency to drive a car till the wheels fall off.  I drove my first car, a sweet Hyundai, for eight years before it literally ignited in flames during a drive down West End.  I replaced that car with a Corolla that I drove for 200,000 miles before it suddenly lost all power and died in the middle of I-40.  My recently deceased vehicle was a practical 2004 Toyota Highlander. Loaded with food-stained seats, no air-conditioning and as many as two hubcaps — I figured I had a few good years left.

When something mission-critical to our work or personal lives breaks, it’s more than an inconvenience. Be it your car, laptop or smartphone, when a machine we depend on suddenly fails it usually translates into emotional stress, lost dollars, lost time, even lost business.

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In my job as a computer tech, the agony of broken electronics is on display everyday. Hard-drive crashes, viruses, blue screens of death — much like a car, it’s just a matter of time before something goes wrong, warning light or not.

My drive-it-into-the-ground strategy is based on emotion and economics.  Since I am not much of a car person, my only concern is safe and reliable transportation, budget prices, nothing flashy.  Now that even used cars cost tens of thousands of dollars, I figure I am better off making minor repairs until repair is no longer justifiable.

When it comes to my computer and phone, I am the exact opposite. It’s usually better to replace rather than repair a computer or phone when it stops working. The repair price is usually not worth it.;

 



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