Thinking Tech

Whoops! Driver follows GPS directions right into the ocean

Whoops! Driver follows GPS directions right into the ocean

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Sometimes people put so much blind faith in technology that it overrides basic common sense.

While technological innovation has its obvious virtues, there are some who feel we're becoming increasingly over-reliant on it. For now, however, I'd say we're still on charge. We control our smartphones, they don't control us (at least most of the time).

But once in a while we'll get an extreme case of people putting so much blind faith in technology that it overrides basic common sense. For instance, the Brisbane Times in Australia recently reported on a group of Japanese tourists who followed the directions given by their car's GPS so meticulously that they drove right into the Pacific Ocean.

Unfortunately, they were'nt driving one of those amphibious vehicles that can transition from land to water. Instead, it was a standard sedan that wasn't built to handle large bodies of water and thus had to abandoned. You'd think they'd feel pretty silly blaming the GPS, considering that they were attempting to get to a nearby island without checking first whether there was a seabridge connecting the two land masses. But alas, nobody ever wants to admit that driving into the freaking ocean was their fault.

Here's their reaction as told to the Brisbane Times:

The Tokyo students had wanted to take a day trip to Straddie and believed their GPS unit would be able to guide them there. The GPS forgot to mention the 15 kilometres of water and mud between the mainland and the island.

Yuzu Noda, 21, said she was listening to the GPS and "it told us we could drive down there".

"It kept saying it would navigate us to a road. We got stuck . . . there's lots of mud."

The newspaper, however, also noted that the stubborn group was able to make it about 500 meters from the bay. Hmmm... perhaps when you look ahead and only see ships, ocean current and no road signs, it's pretty unlikely that there's a road you can turn into somewhere.

Just something to keep in mind.

(via Brisbane Times)

Photo: The Redland Times (handout)

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Tuan Nguyen

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Tuan C. Nguyen is a freelance science journalist based in New York City. He has written for the U.S. News and World Report, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC News, AOL, Yahoo! News and LiveScience. Formerly, he was reporter and producer for the technology section of ABCNews.com. He holds degrees from the University of California Los Angeles and the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure