My recent misguided adventure to a small town has left me wondering again, if we rely too much on technology to guide us through our lives.
I have no sense of direction. I won’t try to pretend I do. When asking for directions, I need street names, landmarks, scenery, weather conditions; the whole shebang, or I’ll end up in no-man’s-land, panicky and confused.
I felt a sense of added security when I received my Garmin this year for my birthday. I felt like I had an angel on my shoulder that would guide me through twisted streets of construction and redirect me if I happened to make an accidental wrong turn.A recent trip to a small town proved me wrong and left me wondering again, if we rely too much on technology to guide us through our lives?
Before leaving for work, I Googled the address to get a consensus of where I was headed, but I didn’t fret over it too much because I already programmed the location in my Garmin and was confident it would not steer me wrong.
My trip was going well until it was suddenly disrupted by bright orange and white construction barrels blocking my route. I hit the detour option on my Garmin, confident that it would highlight an alternative route that would guide me safely to my location. Instead, I was directed to drive in a huge, complete circle that left me facing those dreaded barrels again. Panic started to kick in.
I stopped a few times to ask locals for an alternative route, only to get conflicting instructions. One told me to go right, the other left. Frustrated and a little dismayed, I returned to my car, daring myself to once again put my faith in my driving companion; only to retrace the same huge circle.
It was then I decided to stray from my Garmin’s demands. As I drove off course, it condescendingly ordered me to follow its map. “Turn right, turn left; continue on, recalculating, recalculating.” The fact that the high-tech instructional guide was a gift prevented me from throwing it out the window and driving over it.
I eventually found my destination, but I was angry that my technology guide added almost a half-hour of extra travel time. I’m not the only victim of misguided instructions from an advance, electronic mapping system (Click here to read Attack of My Killer GPS). Several of my friends who own some sort of smart phone or GPS have found themselves in dark alleys, strange neighborhoods, and complicated construction zones.
As consumers, we seem to over-rely on technology rather than our personal instincts to travel, communicate, and most of all, survive our daily lives. When technology decides to fail or not work the way we want it to, we become disoriented and irrational, as if we don’t know what to do with ourselves. We forget that technology is just a guide, not a replacement.
I am still a fan of my Garmin – call it a love-hate relationship – but I have learned to rely more on my adaptive skills than to fully rely on its imperfect technological capabilities. After all, it’s not human.
Are you lost in technological advancements? Do you rely on electronic devices to survive your daily lives? What do you do when technology fails you? Share your comments below, or send your rants to firstname.lastname@example.org.