[LINK] limits of technology in finding someone

Craig Sanders cas at taz.net.au
Tue Dec 12 09:02:52 AEDT 2006

On Sat, Dec 09, 2006 at 02:13:57PM +1100, Roger Clarke wrote:
> These days, I routinely have to explain to Sydney 
> cabbies where B is, and how to get from A to B.  

that was the case when i lived in sydney about 20 years ago. cabbies
there never knew how to get where you wanted (and often didn't know even
roughly where it was). if you didn't tell them exactly where to go and
how to get there AND keep a close eye on their driving, you'd end up
miles away from your destination and/or grossly overcharged.

this was a bit of a shock to me as i was used to melbourne cabbies,
who all seemed to know pretty much the entire metropolitan area...from
dandenong all the way over to sunshine. and they had the ability to
read the map in the street directory (something sydney cabbies seem
incapable of). of course, that's made a lot easier by the fact that
melbourne roads are pretty much a grid, rather than a maze of twisty
little passages all alike. miss your turn-off and it doesn't matter much
- just take the next one.

i haven't been back for a while but i hear that sydney's maze-like roads
are even worse now, with lots of one-way streets and no-turn signs
designed to force people onto the toll roads, whether they like it or

> Back to the point:  in classical Information Systems theory terms, 
> GPS is a decision support tool that's being used by naive people as a 
> decision tool.

but it's on a screen - it must be true. anyway, thinking for yourself is
too hard.

> The purposes to which GPS is being put are extremely challenging, and
> it's no surprise that quality is highly variable, and horror stories
> will keep happening.  As ever, marketers and technology supremacists
> are happy to lie in order to make it seem much better than it really
> is.

and people are all too willing to abdicate responsibility to
anyone/anything else - a person, a business, a government agency, or a

baaa!  baaaa!


craig sanders <cas at taz.net.au>           (part time cyborg)

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