So a pair of tourists, looking to drive to beautiful Capri, accidentally typed “Carpi” into their navigation system, and followed it for a full 400 miles before deciding maybe there was something wrong. What clued them in? The fact that Capri is an island and their route never crossed a body of water? Actually, they asked where to find the Blue Grotto when they actually got to Carpi.
It’s silly, but it’s also indicative of an increasingly common attitude, which is that our devices are infallible. It leads to us relying on them more than on ourselves, and further down that road, to us no longer trusting ourselves to do something which used to be second nature.
We just saw an article on this subject over at Boing Boing Gadgets. Lisa over there feels that her GPS is bad for her brain, and it certainly can be. Turn-by-turn navigation takes your mind off the road, and not in a good way. And how about our other devices? Sure, they’re enabling a level of sharing and communication that is completely unprecedented and, I think, on the balance a good thing — but they’re tethering (so to speak) our minds to them, and that’s rarely a good thing. It’s a bit like doing a crossword puzzle by googling everything one after another.
I think I should come up with a rule for things like this. Yeah, I’m just going to pop one out right now:
Use technology to expand your capabilities, but never to replace them.
That seems pretty reasonable. So they could have done what I do with GPS: find a location, double-check it, and write down the parts that I may miss if I don’t know the area. Turn-by-turn be damned.