Monday, December 25, 2006

Future Instruments -- Part IV

Velvet wasn't happy.

On the dashboard she was watching a picture develop that was nothing short of confusion.

The picture was an overlay -- a scattergram -- on top of a pipeline. The pipeline itself showed neighborhoods. Some of the neighborhoods were dark and some were light, depending on what happened after Velvet had dropped the external data sources.

External data sources made certain neighborhoods more or less light while leaving other neighborhoods in the dark.

Today this was not Velvet's problem.

Many dark neighborhoods in the overlay had been labelled "let sleeping dogs lie". The company would not pay her to ask the questions in these sections. Other neighborhoods that had only been partially illuminated as a result of the drop were now labeled "simulation candidates".

What was troubling Velvet were the neighborhoods marked "critical sections". These were empty sections that needed to be asked or not depending on the access roads. The trouble as Velvet looked at the scattergram was that it had waffled on the access roads.

Velvet, like most interviewers, wanted to see the access roads in black and white. Interviewers didn't have to enter a neighborhood connected to other neighborhoods on a black road. Being a person of color, Velvet wished the company had devised other color coding but she would muse on geek culture at another time.

Right now on the scattergram she saw dark neighborhoods labelled "critical sections" whose access roads were the color gray.

This could only mean back tracking. And back tracking always required a plan.

This had not always been the case. Before the advent of external data, interviews had been one way in and one way out for the most part. She wasn't sure why but external data sources had complicated this picture. In training they had simply told the interviewers that "now there is more than one way to skin a cat."

Velvet liked cats but she caught their drift.

On the dashboard Velvet flipped overlays to a plan called "the shortest distance between two points." This would be the plan that minimized back tracking which of course, Velvet thought, would have the side effect of maximizing the company's profits.

It didn't take Velvet more than a few pokes at this plan to decide it was high risk. Velvet's rule of thumb was to look at gate questions that would turn access roads to white coming from neighborhoods that were lit up by external data sources. In these situations Velvet judged whether the respondent would know the answer.

Now Velvet chose a plan called "NoMax". Velvet wasn't sure what "NoMax" did. Velvet did know that "NoMax" did not maximize the use of data from external data sources. So much for double negatives.

Velvet looked at the scattergram once more and liked what she saw. Instead of lots of gray access roads, everything was coming up roses.

She counted four roses. Velvet knew that this was a borderline case that required authorization. Velvet also knew she was not about to be second guessed by central authority. That was why as she dragged the current pipeline she had just devised on top of the central authority resource, Velvet waited with easy confidence.

No comments: