GPS Device

  1. A device or mobile application designed to ensure that people will never be able to read maps ever again
  2. A device offering turn-by-turn navigation to strip away free will

Usage Example: “The restaurant should be right here, on the left… ‘Recalculating’… What? Did I pass it? I couldn’t have passed it… I must have passed it… Now it’s going to take five minutes to get back there? Why? That makes no sense. The GPS is taking me on the highway? This can’t be right. Maybe I should just make a U-turn. Do you think I should? No, I’ll just follow the GPS. It’ll get me there.”

Background: Americans are too good at geography. GPS manufacturers understand this, and are doing their best to take us down a few notches.

Twenty years ago, people were driving around using maps. They were calculating distances and reading paper maps like they were navigating the Oregon Trail. Thankfully, we now have a digital voice to tell us to turn right in 2 miles… turn right in .5 miles… turn right ahead… turn right… recalculating… complete a legal U-turn in .5 miles…

Likewise, twenty years ago, people remembered multiple phone numbers. Cellular phones were invented to ensure that people would barely be able to remember their own phone numbers, let alone anyone else’s. This frees up mental real estate to be used for more important things, like remembering 895 usernames and passwords.

GPS voice commands are powerful, and should not be underestimated. They fully control their users, and compel them to go along with irrational decisions. Drivers may know a better way to get to the other side of town, but the GPS is king. Anyone daring to defy GPS directions instantly feels like a criminal. While the GPS scolds the driver by constantly announcing that it is “recalculating”, drivers will often look around, making sure that the police didn’t see them disobey the device.

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