Another Driver Chooses To Believe GPS Over The Reality Of A Cliff

from the the-machines-are-taking-over dept

Ah, yet another tale of a British driver turning on his GPS unit and turning off his brain: a guy in Yorkshire left his car teetering over the edge of a cliff after blindly following his GPS down a narrow, steep path. The GPS said it was a road, and the driver seems to have let that override his common sense, as plenty of people are wont to do. Drivers often like to blame the technology for taking them down some treacherous path, but it's not as if the device simply suggested a suboptimal route, or drove the car itself. The infallibility some people see in technology is troubling, since they seem to see things like GPS units as perfectly acceptable replacements for their brains.

Filed Under: driving, gps

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  1. identicon
    Petréa Mitchell, 26 Mar 2009 @ 10:49am


    The driver knows that sometimes the right road is poorly marked. And sometimes the quickest way to somewhere is the back road. And sometimes that's gravel for a bit. And sometimes... well you get the idea. The driver also knows that the navigation device is generally reliable.

    So the problem is to work out at what point to stop trusting your trusted expert and say no, this is really not the right road. This is more difficult in the UK than the US because the British road system has had a longer time to develop into a hideous writhing mess. The signifiers for "not really a road" are not as clear.

    This trust that people put in technology is a side effect of one of the basic psychological abilities that allows human civilization to exist in the first place.

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