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Bossy Machines

March 27, 2013

We’ve had machines that talk to us for years now. I should be used to them by now, but I’m not. I find them highly annoying. The worst offenders are my GPS and the grocery self check-out scanner beepy thingy. (Okay, fine. What do you call them?) More on that one later. Right now I want to complain about my GPS.

I hate the way the GPS whines whenever I don’t take her preferred route. I can almost hear her exasperated sigh before she utters ‘recalculating’.

What she’s really saying, ‘You stupid human, you missed your turn! Again!’

What I say in response, ‘Look, you dumb @*!#$! I’ve driven this route a hundred times. I know where I’m going!’

One day I was driving around the boondocks and succeeded in actually getting myself lost. No worries, I thought. I have a GPS! 

Hahaha! Yeah, right!

I caught a glimpse of the smirk that flitted across her perfectly matte complexion right before she uttered a sarcastic, ‘You turn where possible.’

I wonder how long she lay on the side of that country road before someone picked her up….

Although I talked to my GPS, she wasn’t capable of actually hearing me. I often thought it would be handy to have a hands-free version that you could just state the destination and not have to try to drive and type. I thought this until I recently witnessed my friend’s voice-activated, user-friendly model in action. He precisely and perfectly enunciated an address in Indiana. After five minutes of thinking, his high-tech wonder returned ten addresses in Kansas. I understand completely why she was confused. North central Indiana looks a lot like Kansas these days. We even have giant windmill farms now.

I believe one could accept the utterances of these devices if they were just designed to at least sound like they want to be helpful to us.

Instead of a harsh ‘Recaulculating!’ perhaps something more like…

‘Honey, you missed your turn back there. I’ll just make another suggestion here in a minute. You don’t have to turn though if you don’t want to. You are, after all, a highly evolved being perfectly capable of making intelligent decisions.’

Is this too much to ask?

My phone has voice recognition. It’s just as messed up as my friend’s GPS. The first time I tried to use it to call someone, it played a song that I like. I got sidetracked, listened to the entire album and forgot to make the phone call. Sneaky phone.

I don’t completely trust machines that talk. I think that my next GPS is going to be a fairly basic model….


No talking necessary. 🙂 And if I get lost in the wilderness it will come in far handier than a machine that would most likely tell me, ‘You really *!*#$% up! Good luck!’

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