I was walking home from work today when I saw a man listening to what looked like a stethoscope, except that the earpieces were on the ground instead of someone’s chest. There was water spilling from the ground around him.
“What are you listening for?” I came over and asked. He looked smiley and welcoming.
“You know, the pipe broke and I’m listening to try to figure out which part it is. You don’t want to dig up the whole street.”
“How do you know which part is broken?”
“It’s louder. It’s hard to hear now because there are so many cars.”
“Have you figured out which part yet?”
“It’s probably there, but I’ll need to listen more because of so many cars.”
“How did you learn how to do this?”
“Experiences, you know.”
“Does this happen very often?”
“Often enough. About once a month.”
“In Mountain View alone?”
“Yeah we only work in Mountain View.”
As I talked to him, I couldn’t help but think: “Oh boy, this sounds like a job that can be perfectly replaced by machine learning.” I didn’t tell him that because I’ve learned the hard way that it’s rude to tell someone they’d be replaced by robots.
He was kind enough to let me try on the geophone. He warned me that the noise could be too loud, but I couldn’t hear anything. Regardless, I got a cool picture. I’m officially a street doctor.