This I Know I Think
Life on the verge of understanding
May 31, 2015 Categories: travel. No Comments on Could a machine do this?

There is a parking lot behind the apartment I am staying in in Manila. Every day around 7a it starts to fill up, and usually by around 8.30a it’s full. The cars are parked by valets, who manage to squeeze an almost impossible amount of cars into the limited space. I guess that a number of people indicate that they will be parking all day, so that the valets are able to “block” their cars in without worrying about having to move them to let others out. Yet at the end of the day it’s entertaining to watch the valets move the cars around in the tight space so that drivers can remove their vehicles. It reminds me of that puzzle where you have a 3×3 grid with 8 numbered blocks that can slide around, and you have to arrange them in numerical order. I marvel at the way in which the senior valet (and there very clearly is one) ensures that he maximises the number of cars who can park, and therefore the revenue earned, without ever, it seems locking things up hopelessly. Could a machine algorithm do this? Possible but I’d be prepared to bet that the human touch is at least as effective, if not more so.

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