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Smarter elevators sort riders, stand ready to enforce social hierarchies

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While we're still awaiting pneumatic tubes that can whisk us to our destinations, elevators have been gaining a few IQ points. For example, they can be voice-activated or recognize an ID badge and route riders to their floors, meaning fewer seconds staring uncomfortably until the doors open. But they can also track workers' comings and goings, and bosses at Philadelphia's Curtis Center can program elevators to deliver specific employees directly to them. Not coincidentally, intelligent lifts can also ensure executives rarely have to ride alongside the hoi polloi -- a feature Bank of America, for one, paid for but says it doesn't use. The Wall Street Journal seems to worry this is the end of elevator democracy, but we support anything that reduces our time trapped in small metal boxes.

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