Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I Don't Think We're In Belgium Anymore: A Tale of GPS Betrayal

I can't stop laughing about this. Maybe it is because it was a long day. But this story hilariously shows everything that is amazingly wrong about humans placing their fate in the hands of technology.
A 67-year-old woman from Belgium set out to pick up her friend at a Brussels train station about an hour away. So she got in her car and turned on and programmed her GPS. This is where things took a wrong turn for this poor woman. A very wrong turn that led her to Croatia. 900 miles and over 24 hours out of her way!
What the hell! Didn't she realize this at any point? She explained to a local newspaper that she just was letting the navigation system take over and "was absent-minded" and just driving. And she traveled through at least three different countries. I was relieved to read that she did at least notice this. She told the paper, "I saw tons of different signposts, first in French, later in German, but I kept on driving." BUT WHY? Because her GPS told her to keep going! My GPS once told me to drive straight off a pier into water. But I didn't listen. Common sense told me that wasn't a great idea.
Meanwhile, this woman, Sabine Moureau, said she didn't even realize she wasn't in Belgium anymore until she was in Croatia!
To put this absurd journey in geographic perspective, this would be the equivalent of you starting from NYC, intending to drive to CT to pick someone up, but ending up in Georgia instead. Would you not notice something was a bit off, by, mayhaps, Virginia?
 Not to mention, she drove this odyssey straight. Only stopping for gas twice and then pulling over to sleep for a couple of hours. And, not surprisingly given those exhausting conditions and her "absent-mindedness," she was also involved in a minor accident while under the GPS influence. But throughout all of this, she bravely never questioned that maybe something was not quite right. And what about this poor friend she was supposed to pick up hours ago? She apparently never thought to contact her to let her know that she was running a bit late? Nor did she contact her family, who during her unexpectedly long absence, reported her missing. Can't imagine why they'd be worried about her.  She couldn't possibly be lost. She had GPS.

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