Tech­nol­ogy to drive you round the bend

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

OUR old Sat­nav has been con­signed to the rub­bish heap after it failed time after time to find a sig­nal (how hard can it be?) and even­tu­ally gave up speak­ing to us al­to­gether.

On its fi­nal mis­sion it aban­doned me on a solo jour­ney in the mid­dle of Wales where even the sheep couldn’t point me in the right di­rec­tion.

I sus­pect it was fed up with Mr F ar­gu­ing with it, as he was al­ways sure he knew the way bet­ter than the Sat­nav. Our jour­neys, when I was the driver, of­ten ended up with me scream­ing ‘which way? which way?’ while des­per­ately cir­cling a round­about as they fought it out.

They were obliv­i­ous to the fact that I was fight­ing frus­tra­tion – not to say fury – and had a press­ing need to stop my dizzy­ing cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion and find a way for­ward. Mr F used to be a bril­liant nav­i­ga­tor – with maps.

Once, try­ing to find a ho­tel, in the mid­dle of nowhere, our Sat­nav took us to a dead end on a de­serted, dodgy-look­ing in­dus­trial es­tate. We be­gan to think it pre­ferred to stay lo­cal so was de­lib­er­ately sab­o­tag­ing any trips that went fur­ther than High Wy­combe.

Re­mem­ber the Chan­nel 4 TV drama Hu­mans, which I’ve com­mented on be­fore?

It was a very scary glimpse into a pos­si­ble fu­ture taken over by machines. In­tel­li­gent young peo­ple were in de­spair about their fu­ture. Why spend years training to be a doc­tor when there are ‘synths’ pro­grammed in sec­onds to do the same job?

Prob­lems also started when a man, fed up with keep­ing the house and fam­ily go­ing while his lawyer wife is away, goes to the su­per­mar­ket to buy a synth to do the house­work, cook and keep his chil­dren in or­der.

She re­turns to find she has been usurped by a robot who also hap­pens to be stun­ningly beau­ti­ful, which is par­tic­u­larly un­set­tling for her hus­band and teenage son.

Mr F is en­joyed this a bit too much so I’m keep­ing any eye on Ms Sat­nav 2. If she starts send­ing me in the di­rec­tion of Beachy Head, she’ll be dis­missed and re­placed by a male ver­sion.

The good news is that our lat­est driv­ing robot has a sense of hu­mour. Sat­nav Mark 2 has given us some won­der­ful mis­pro­nun­ci­a­tions such as Swacker-leeez round­about, in­stead of Swake­leys.

Per­haps we’ll keep her.

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