Sunday, March 18, 2012

Do GPS Devices Encourage Recklessness?

Hikers-with-GPS-hiking.jpg

Whether you’re talking about a SPOT device, or an automotive GPS device designed simply to get you from point A to point B, sometimes I wonder if technology doesn’t encourage recklessness more than anything. While I want to be quick to add that there’s nothing wrong with using technology (heck, I make my living on technology) it has to be used in the right manner and with the right mindset.

Recently, the Guardian published a really interesting article examining the downsides of SPOT GPS Locators in the hands of adventurers and enthusiasts. The article, titled “Can you still call yourself an adventurer if you use a GPS beacon?” is a really great read and makes the rather compelling argument that GPS can sometimes be a crutch. While I don’t necessarily agree, I have to admit that there are a startlingly large number of insane GPS mishaps involving people drive into oceans or take huge detours because they aren’t paying attention or are relying too much on technology.

I have to wonder if it doesn’t come down to how people tend to perceive things. Technology–and GPS in specific–is extremely powerful and capable of doing things that most humans can’t. It’s easy to rely on technology to magically be able to fix things or have the answer when we don’t. People take things like never being lost for granted and that seems to be where problems start.

While it’d be easy for me to wax poetic and waffle back and forth on the issue, I have been thinking on this for a while and was curious what you all think. Do people rely too much on GPS technology? Is it recklessness or simply over-reliance? I also highly recommend giving the Guardian’s article a quick read if you have the time. It’s really a unique perspective.

Leave me a note below and let me know what you think!

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