As leaders today wrestle with issues of artificial intelligence, I am still an admirer of a gizmo far more familiar – the automobile GPS. As it has become more operational and available over the last twenty years, it has continued to be a mystery to some users and a blessing to most.
GPS: Friend or Foe?
Of all the modern technology with which we’ve been blessed, the GPS may be the greatest of all. The Global Positioning System tells the driver where you are and how to get where you want to go. Once you have the GPS Guidance, you wonder how drivers ever got along without it.
Remember fumbling in the dark with a map and a flashlight and trying to see street signs to figure out which way to go next? Now, none of that is necessary. Maggie just tells you which way to go. At least Maggie is the name we gave our Magellan GPS.
She lights the way for us. . .except when she doesn’t. Oh, haven’t your heard? Maggie the GPS is not infallible. She has taken us down a dirt road into an orchard and onto a road so rutted as to be impossibly impassable. She has told us to turn down a road that is no longer there because of new construction of which she was unaware.
It’s part of the mystique of traveling with Maggie. You never know when you still need to turn to your trusty atlas or those MapQuest directions to find your way out of the maze she has put you in.
But even with her quirks and occasional detours, we would not give up our GPS. Ninety-five percent of the time it directs us accurately. Most importantly, it tells us which lane to be in when taking the next curve. That alone could be a lifesaving tool.
Maggie rides shotgun wherever we go.
P.S. As explained by the researchers, GPS – a navigation system after all – can be viewed as a form of artificial intelligence. Its systems use stored map information to determine optimal route selection. That paved the way for the unchartered and scary future of AI.