CHRIS DETRICK FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES May 03, 2013 By RON NIXON
Starting with a success rate of 35%, these machines have built up to a 98% success rate for hand-written addresses. That means that the 55 centers that used to do this work have been downsized to one center in Salt Lake City that deciphers all the mail that the computers can't handle.
With 700 people reading an image every 90 seconds 24/7/365, they have replaced the local clerks figuring everything out themselves. Efficiency, but at a cost. Now that the local people aren't doing this work, we get mistakes made by people 200 miles away choosing the most likely address.
Just like when my college cafeteria job switched from knowing the names of those who were permitted to eat to running cards through a scanner, the human element is lost. But it sure beats paying an extra penny per letter right? Or does it?