So the busy digital elves that constantly tinker with my car’s GPS system recently added a feature that remembers where you drive. Everywhere you drive. The programming wizards devised these little dots that trail behind the cursor like pixels in a game of reverse Pac-Man.* Anywhere I take my car–like it or not, want it to or not– the GPS googlemeister silently watches and records.
I guess you could give them points for transparency.
The dot system, at least, explicitly presents what we’ve implicitly ignored for the first decade or so of techno-imperialism: You’re being tracked. (What?!) It’s 2013, so we (should) understand by now that a bunch of companies make tons of moolah buying and trading our cookie-studded histories and, in return, give us Free Apps!!! and the chance to Share & Tell Others!!! We should (also) realize that every step we type/swipe on the Interwebz gets recorded, stored, sliced, diced and algorithmized.**
I thought the Future would be about flying cars not webtailer drones!
And why the ducks would I want to remember where I drive everyday anywho? Okay, maybe I want to keep copies of especially tricky itineraries (turn left at that last cow then hang a right near Sleepy Hollow bridge) but believe me, the last thing I want is a Permanent Record of my complete driving experience. The darn thing has only been tracking*** me since Sunday but already the dots along my regular rut, I mean, route have sprouted like a bunch of nefarious cyber-mushrooms. There’s one series of streets that, although I never thought about it before, apparently I use all the time! Now, thanks to “upgraded” GPS software, I can actively understand just how tedious my daily life really is. I mean, appears.
I DRIVE SO BORING!!!
It’s true that we did take a spin out of state last week–I admit it! It was the pumpkin pie!– but the rarity of that routing makes my mundane daily triptik even more humdrum. And, yeah, I also admit that I may have tried to “outsmart” the GPS by erasing previous journeys, taking side streets and deleting current routes. And that weird convoluted serpentine where I wove in and out of neighborhoods avoiding freeways, highways and any reasonable straight path to my actual destination? Yup, I wasted both time and fuel creating a more interesting digital history.
The GPS made me do it!****
Well, I guess you would say I should try not to worry too much about all this corporate data collection. I mean, I’ve got a ton of cyber-shopping to finish so I’m not expecting to do a lot of analog gift purchasing anyway. After all, no reason to worry about your car’s lackluster digital life when you can use your computer/cellphone/tablet to create all kinds of commercially viable personal nuggets without even leaving the house.
Ho, ho, ho!
*Ooh, there’s an idea–can I turn the cursor around and gobble up the dots? Say yes!
**And then someone tries to sell you something. Gee, thanks!
***Sorry, showing me the tracking.
****Oh, and if you’re wondering, turning off the screen does not actually turn off the tracking. I mean, just in case you’re wondering.
Copyright 2013, Lori Fontanes