The End of Exploration
- The generation that is growing up with the GPS is rapidly losing any sense
of its surroundings or of the surroundings of the destination, i.e. the ability
to map the territory.
- One doesn't even need to remember the road to the
destination, as the GPS will display how to get back home. The entire process
of discovering and exploring that has been a pillar of human civilization for
thousands of years has suddenly become obsolete and redundant. This is a
conceptual revolution that compared with the spreading of the printing press.
- The cellular phone is causing a parallel revolution by making information
available anywhere anytime. Humans won't need to remember or write down
the information they need when they move to another place: they will simply
retrieve it when they need it.
- The whole experience of traveling will dramatically change. Sports like hiking
will become something else altogether.
- The price that humans will pay is that they will de-facto become blind beings that don't know their own territory: they will constantly rely on a device to guide them.
- This also creates a complementary phenomenon: the absolute faith in the GPS.
People who rely on a GPS to guide them will ignore any human advice. A driver will not turn left no matter how reliable the advice is if the GPS says to turn right. The ignorance of the territory creates absolute faith (of an almost religious kind) in the GPS. The driver knows that the GPS will eventually find "a" route home, and the driver is no longer interested in finding the "best" route home that used to be the whole point of asking someone who knows the territory (someone who also knows how to avoid construction, traffic or a bad pavement).
- One can see how religions got started. For a driver who has lost the ability
to navigate the GPS is the equivalent of a priest.