Turn On GPS, Turn Off Brain

from the you-know-what-they-say-about-assuming dept

One of the common reasons given for people to exclude technology from education is a fear that people will come to rely on it too much, and either be lost when it fails, or unable to recognize when it's giving bad results. Most of the time, this seems rather silly: if a calculator breaks, for instance, it's not too hard to find another one. But, it looks like some of those fears about humans either unwilling or unable to question the primacy of technology aren't unwarranted, after a navigation unit sent a British ambulance off course, and the driver didn't notice until they were 200 miles off course (via Engadget). It's not as if they were driving on some unmarked road, but rather they traveled roughly half the length of England, driving from London to outside Manchester before thinking that something was amiss on what should have been a 12-mile journey. The ambulance service says that the faulty navigation unit is being fixed. But what's being done to fix the employees? It's one thing for a GPS unit to deliver screwy directions; it's another to be so ignorant or deferential to it so that it takes you 200 miles, and a tour of half a country, to figure it out when you're supposed to be on a 12-mile trip.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, 5 Dec 2006 @ 5:29pm

    Maybe the Ambo should go and work for M$, then he could have gone via anywhere he liked (either that or HMG should consider mandated closing times in pubs again).

    Seriously, the road signs are not all that bad, and to get to Manchester he would either have been cruising around the countryside for a very long time, or would have (more likely) gone up the M1/M62 or M40. Since the M40 leads through Birmingham (B'ham on many road signs), which no-one would go through without noticing un;ess they were seriously drugged, and the M1/M62 (the long way round) goes past Nothhampton, Liester, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds and Huddersfield, which would be hard even for someone this stupid to not notice, I would conjecture that either he decided to follow the instructions with a patient he knew to be safe, just to prove his point, or that he is so stupid he should be fired.

    I think the former is more likely, but i would question the wisdom of proving his point like this. THis does remingd me of a time whe at my old school we had a fire drill and in the mUsic block the alarm could not easily be heard owing to the fact that the siren was on the outside of a somewhat soundproof building, and it is unlikly that someone looking out a window would see the evacuation, our teacher told us all to carry on. OT be fair to the alam installers, the volume of the music that we were playing would have got us shot on any other day, but it still got new sirens fitted inside, and the old ones were hard to hear anyway.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.