“When we turn on a GPS system, we become cargo.”


The more we vitrualize the world, the more we forget our physical selves. The convenience we find in technology has made us reliant on it, and with such a reliance, some of us have come to perceive ourselves only through our virtual self-a potentially dangerous perception in a world that is not entirely virtual.

GPS is merely another form of virtualization. By locating our exact position and reproducing it on a screen, we are, in a way, making another world-a world in which we have a different understanding of our environment and ourselves. The representation of ourselves as a blip on a map can make us seem like “cargo” a meaningless environment.

Our current issues with increasing virtualization

An article by Lauren Hansen titled “8 drivers who blindly followed their GPS into disaster,” shows various circumstances in which people were unaware of their surrounding because they relied primarily on their GPS devices. One of her stories being the following:

“In 2007, a 37-year-old German truck driver had his GPS guide him to a Swiss factory where he was to deliver his cargo. But instead of heeding the “no-entry” warning signs that should have deterred him, the driver followed the sound of the female voice until the truck ended up wedged in the cradle of a cherry tree”

Such an event could have been easily avoided if the driver payed more attention to the real world. It would have been avoided if the didn’t treat himself like cargo.

However, it would be unfair to judge the concept when it has not nearly been perfected. It seems that people believe that since a GPS device brought problems previously unheard of, it is inherently bad. The same is applicable to say that a GPS turns us into cargo. It is understandable to think that since we are being represented in another world, that we no longer seem human, but the implementation of GPS is not fully complete. The time in which something is being integrated is the time that it receives the most criticism because we judge it for what it is, not what it can become.

A world in which GPS is fully integrated into our lives would only allow us to be more human. We will never become as meaningless and replaceable as cargo, because ultimately, we are human. There is nothing like us, and no matter what we chose to integrate into our society or ourselves, we cannot be stripped of our title as humans because the definition of what a human is, is in its nature unfixed. Humans are what we are is because of the technology that shaped us. The words “dehumanizing technology” are an oxymoron because technology is what is human.