Thursday, November 19, 2009

Yipes! Scary! "This is your brain on GPS"

I was reading "The Last Word" in a recent The Week magazine.
IN JUNE, AL Byrd’s three-bedroom home, built by his father on the western outskirts of Atlanta, was mistakenly torn down by a demolition company. “I said, ‘Don’t you have an address?’” a distraught Byrd later recounted. “He said, ‘Yes, my GPS coordinates led me right to this address here.’” The incident joined a long list of satellite-guided blunders, including one last year in which a driver in Bedford Hills, N.Y., obeyed instructions from his GPS to turn right onto a set of train tracks, where he got stuck and had to abandon his car to a collision with a commuter train. Incredibly, the same thing happened to someone else at exactly the same intersection nine months later. In Britain, an insurance company survey found that 300,000 drivers have either crashed or nearly crashed because of GPS systems.
What's going on? It seems that GPS's conflict with the way our minds work. I know they conflict with the way my mind works!

Instead of permitting us to generate maps in our own minds, they provide directional "recipes" that actually contribute to the decline of spatial function in our brains.

Find the whole sordid story here.
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