When we were younger, we all knew the 7 or 10 digits to our home phone number. When we were out and about, we dialed it in from memory to reach our parents. Now we probably can’t recall our mom’s cell phone number, or even a spouse’s who we call or message many times a day. Is a phone’s contact list or number memory jeopardizing our lives? Probably not, but a growing dependence on technology is jeopardizing something.
Google Map’s House-Destroying Error
When demolition company Billy L. Nabors Demolition out of Seagoville, Texas, was assigned to demolish a duplex that had been damaged by a tornado and located at 7601 and 7603 Cousteau Drive in Rowlett, Texas, staff turned to Google Maps to get them there. No maps were consulted other than Google Maps, which led them to 7601 and 7603 Calypso Drive—an entirely different street, and labeled incorrectly online. The consequences of a seemingly small error on a internet map: Duplex owner Lindsay Diaz came home to discover her house was demolished, quite unexpectedly. Many people use Google Maps or Mapquest or a GPS to find our way—we are guided by technology on a daily, even hourly basis in our everyday lives. But are we putting too much trust in technology? And when technology fails, who is to blame?
Taking Responsibility for Technology Fails
“How do you make a mistake like this?” Lindsay Diaz asked reporters after her duplex was demolished. Her houseless situation can be attributed to an error on Google Maps. However, is Google Maps, the technology itself responsible, or is the demolition crew the mistake makers for trusting technology? Such questions make us wonder whether our dependence on technology makes us less responsible or merely ignorant. If a student trusts the accuracy of her final paper and grade to spell check and she misspells word and receives a lower grade, is she responsible, or is the faulty spell check to blame? If a person trusts a seemingly secure site with a credit card number and information is stolen and abused, is that person responsible for losing credit information and ruining their credit, or is the site to blame? If a company trusts their secure files to a security software installed on their servers and hackers break through and steal data worth millions of dollars in damage, is the company responsible, or is the security software at fault? Claiming ignorance won’t fix our grade, or ruined credit, or company reputation, so maybe we should look for ways to manage technology and take responsibility in our lives.
Dealing with our Technology Dependence and Moving Forward
We can’t escape technology. We use it every day for work, school, shopping, paying bills, and so much more. But that doesn’t mean we have to be dependent on it. Take a step back and look at your tech use. Recognize where it’s needed and where you can step forward and take some independence in your life. Keep saving photos on the cloud so you can send them to your grandmother. Run anti-virus software on your computer to save you some worry. Back up your files on hard drive to save paper and money. Use technology where it benefits your life. But maybe consider memorizing your mom’s phone number, just in case you get in a bind.