[LINK] limits of technology in finding someone

Adam Todd link at todd.inoz.com
Fri Dec 8 11:03:46 AEDT 2006

I agree Jan.  Technology is a tool, not an answer.

Yesterday I decided to try out a GPS auto routing package on a drive to the 
city.  We have a unique and fast way to get to the city and back from 
Parramatta.    Avoids all tolls, avoid traffic backlogs etc.

Well I let the GPS do it's autoroute.  It was pretty good - to start.  But 
when we went into our LONG STRAIGHT backroad, it kept trying to get us back 
onto Pararmatta Road, even though we were on the city route side of 
Parramatta Road and following the STRAIGHT road we were on the GPS would 
have made us drive right past the road end anyway.

There were some other silly things it did in the city too.  But we knew 
better.  Telling us to turn left where you couldn't.

Actually the funniest part was when we got back to our base area and took a 
bypass to the shopping centre.  Driving into the car park it started saying 
"You have gone the wrong way, do a u-turn now, turn back."

Then in the car park it kept saying "Turn left now, turn left turn left" 
and really got annoying.

Mobile phones, GPS, laptops, PDAs etc are tools that aid your own 
decisions.  They are not decision makers.

Forget about Skynet and Terminator robots running our world by force, we 
allow the technology to do it and bow to it's very nature.

Weird isn't it.

At 09:46 AM 8/12/2006, Jan Whitaker wrote:
>Family found by mobile triangulation, but father dies. story slant: lack 
>of GPS. I don't think that's correct.
>>  http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/16180632.htm
>Quinn: Kim death highlights limits of technology
>By Michelle Quinn
>Mercury News
>The best of technology couldn't find James Kim in time.
>It hurts. Our personal technology makes us feel all knowing, invincible, 
>able to navigate the world beyond the limits of our immediate knowledge 
>and surroundings. We can sit in San Jose and find the coolest spot to 
>spend the night on the Oregon coast or the best sushi place in Abidjan, 
>Ivory Coast.
>But in the end, despite our iPods and Blackberries, we are really just 
>ticking clocks that wind down without food, water, shelter.
>Kim, a CNET technology editor, was found dead Wednesday afternoon in rough 
>Oregon terrain after he left his wife and two children in their car to 
>look for help. The couple had been stranded for a week, keeping themselves 
>warm and alive with incredible resourcefulness.
>On Monday, technology gave a crucial assist. Searchers were able to narrow 
>where the family's car was thanks to the Kims' cell phones, which were on 
>and sent a signal to a nearby tower. Searchers saved Kim's wife and two 
>Amid all the technology they traveled with -- three mobile phones and two 
>laptops, the Kims apparently didn't have global positioning systems, which 
>would have helped. But who thinks of needing GPS -- except for the overly 
>concerned -- if you are driving Interstate 5 to Seattle and Portland with 
>a side trip to the coast?
>The police talked about the laptops Monday in a press conference. They 
>were going to delve into them to get a sense of James Kim's thinking of 
>where he might head.
>It made me wonder whether the couple, like many of us, consulted Mapquest 
>or other mapping sites on the Internet to figure out the quickest route 
>once they missed a turnoff to the Oregon Coast.
>They eventually found themselves on Bear Camp Road. Nice enough name. But 
>Mapquest and other services like it don't give context and history. It 
>doesn't tell you that driving from San Francisco to San Jose at 8 a.m. 
>takes two hours. It doesn't know that trees are down on a road or that 
>funding to light up the road has never come through. It doesn't say this 
>isn't a place people go in winter.
>Sites like Mapquest have ``no crossover information,'' said Inspector 
>Angela Martin in the Missing Person's Unit at the San Francisco police 
>I didn't think I was religious. But the tech optimist in me believed that 
>the best of our technology was going to find Kim. The helicopters had heat 
>sensors and scanned the area at night. A cell phone engineer erected an 
>emergency cell phone tower to help searchers but also to give Kim's cell 
>phone a signal.
>But it wasn't enough. The indifferent fog clouded over, preventing the 
>helicopters from flying. The terrain Kim walked took him to a point where 
>he had sheer drops on both sides. One can't even imagine his despair at 
>that place.
>Oh, there will be plenty of helpful tips from this tragedy, how to pack 
>your car for trips, whether to invest in global positioning systems. More 
>technology, we can't but help feel, is the answer.
>It's poetic, the tech editor's family saved by a cell phone. But now with 
>Kim dead, it just hurts to feel technology's limits.
>Jan Whitaker
>JLWhitaker Associates, Melbourne Victoria
>jwhit at janwhitaker.com
>business: http://www.janwhitaker.com
>personal: http://www.janwhitaker.com/personal/
>commentary: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
>'Seed planting is often the most important step. Without the seed, there 
>is no plant.' - JW, April 2005
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