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Blame Your Mistakes on Technology 419

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the pebkac-errors dept.
Techdirt has an quick look at how it is becoming much more common for people to blame their mistakes on technology. "There are people driving off cliffs and through flooded roads and taking detours that span half of England, apparently at the behest of their navigation units. Things got so bad in one place that authorities even had to put up "ignore your sat nav" signs. Now, a woman's car got hit by a train, and for some reason, she's blaming a GPS navigation unit."
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Blame Your Mistakes on Technology

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  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by mdboyd (969169) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @12:34AM (#19101277) Homepage Journal
    If your GPS unit told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by firpecmox (943183)
      That happened to my friend, and he did. How do you feel now?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jcgf (688310)
        I feel great about it. That is natural selection at its finest.
    • by AsmCoder8088 (745645) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @12:36AM (#19101297)
      That depends. Is the voice of the GPS unit in question female?
    • by porkThreeWays (895269) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @12:54AM (#19101361)
      Maybe... [google.com]
    • Shit! It did? Be right back.
    • but the answer is yes! [slashdot.org] The cart track there is right on top of the cliff and not at all suitable for a car - although it makes a good walk.
    • Some people would do that [abc.net.au]

      • Re:Obligatory (Score:5, Insightful)

        by iocat (572367) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @03:37AM (#19102063) Homepage Journal
        This reminds me driving from Chicago with a fellow nerd who was obsessed with our GPS and his PC-based map software. At point he was like "I'm hungry" and I was like "me too, let's go to burger king" and he was like "[looking at his PC] there's none around here." and I was like "uh yeah there is" and he was like "no, I'm looking at the computer and there a no burger kings around here anywhere" and I was like "well, I'm looking out the windshield and I see one," and he was like "oh."

        When you have sat-nav, or point-to-point directions, you're SOL if you make a mistake or things aren't clear. If you have a MAP and some basic skills you can always know "i'm here, and i need to be there, so I need to generally be going X direction."

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by couchslug (175151)
          "If you have a MAP and some basic skills you can always know "i'm here, and i need to be there, so I need to generally be going X direction."

          I supplement maps by printing Google Maps of the area I need in Hybrid view. I get decent photos with road overlay, and toss them into my truckers atlas. A scout compass in the glovebox is handy but I don't use it much.

          Pics are a huge help when doing things like hunting junk vehicles. I can pull them up while on the phone, ask the seller where the vehicle is
          are in rela
      • by pe1chl (90186)
        She called 000 at 7:30pm AEST to say she was lost and her car was stuck on the road.
        Sergeant Oakes says it took police two-and-a-half hours to find her.


        You would think that someone who was guided by a sat nav and got stuck would be able to pinpoint their position quite accurately.
        When it took two-and-a-half hours to find her, there must be not-so-clever people involved, either in the stuck car or the police.
  • by froggero1 (848930) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @12:34AM (#19101283)
    it's much easier to blame someone/something else than take personal responsibility for your actions. Is this really a surprise to anyone?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 13, 2007 @12:34AM (#19101285)
    ... if you don't know how to drive, get the fuck off the road.
  • by Goalie_Ca (584234) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @12:35AM (#19101287)

    Now, a woman's car got hit by a train, and for some reason, she's blaming a GPS navigation unit.
    I agree cuz these things should really include a breathalyser as well.
  • Common Sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ATAMAH (578546) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @12:35AM (#19101291)
    Technology is a supplement, it is not meant to replace common sense.
    • Re:Common Sense (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @12:58AM (#19101383)
      Really? It seems that in the vicinity of a computer, common sense takes a break for a cigarette. Or how do you explain why people fall for scams and "click this now or something horrible happens" virus/trojan/worm mails?
    • This is nothing new. I remember my first calculator didn't understand the order of operations. If you blindly trusted your answers you might find yourself crashing rockets if you weren't careful =P
    • Re:Common Sense (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SmlFreshwaterBuffalo (608664) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @01:36AM (#19101551)
      Technology cannot replace something which was never there in the first place.
  • Blame (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SamP2 (1097897)
    I got a message with a series of points criticizing Americans for blaming companies and institutions rather than themselves. I partly agree with the underlying message that people should take charge and solve problems, rather than just cast blame on others. However, the points go too far--they whitewash companies and institutions that really did something wrong. Let's see if I understand how America works lately . . . If a woman burns her thighs on the hot coffee she was holding in her lap while d
    • Re:Blame (Score:5, Funny)

      by Goalie_Ca (584234) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @12:37AM (#19101301)
      At least if you copy and paste flame material be sure to select "Plain Text" from the scroll down box. That way you get nice paragraphs :D
    • that you expect that people will be honest. They won't. period.

      No matter what the laws are, people will attempt to circumvent them, litigate for whatever they can get. This is how it works. The woman that won against McD's won because the court sided with her. The rest of us know that hot coffee is hot coffee. The real problem is that the law will allow such unless specifically forbidden to do so. This not only allows for absurd law suits, it allows for freedom of speech and the other liberties that we in t
      • by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @01:17AM (#19101487)
        The woman that won against mcdonalds suffered severe burns (more than you'd get from normal coffee) and sued for medical costs (they'd settled hundreds of times for the same issue). The jury fined them one day's coffee sales, as a symbolic way of punishing mcdonalds. This about was later reduced by the judge. All told, this isn't a frivolous suit.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Opportunist (166417)
          Sorry, but putting a steaming mug of coffee between your thighs in a moving car is just plain and simply dumb. No matter how hot the coffee, not matter how severe the burns. It is dumb. You simply don't do that if you are a sane person. The least thing that will surely happen is that you get coffee stains on your clothing. Because liquids follow drag and thus are prone to exiting their container if said container is not sealed. And even with those cute plastic caps on top, McD cups are NOT what constitutes
          • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo @ w orld3.net> on Sunday May 13, 2007 @06:10AM (#19102619) Homepage
            Actually, in the McDonalds case it was not the issue of spilling coffee that was in question. The woman admitted she spilt the coffee, and it was a stupid thing to do.

            The issue was that McDonalds like to keep their coffee at about 98C because it lasts longer that way. Most people drink coffee at about 60C, any more and it burns you. Most people do not expect to be severly burned by coffee, because it is usually not hot enough. McDonalds, in an attempt to save money by brewing fewer pots, handed her a cup of dangerous liquid without any warning. Even if she had sipped the coffee, it would have burnt her mouth.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by MoneyT (548795)
              Most people do not expect to be severly burned by coffee, because it is usually not hot enough.

              I would assume that most people would assume it will give them a damn nasty burn. Combined with the fact that hot liquids that are kept pressed to the skin (i.e. via clothing) and not allowed to ventalate steam (i.e. in the crotch) will cause extremely severe burns. 3rd degree would not suprise me at all. But then, I don't go sticking cups of boiling liquid in my crotch.

              To that end:

              "It is well documented that whe

          • by Captain Nitpick (16515) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @08:02AM (#19103093)

            When you now go ahead and put that so effing HOT cup right between your legs and hit the throttle, you act just plain and simply stupidly.

            She was a passenger in the car that her grandson was driving. He had stopped the vehicle specifically so she could remove the lid for adding cream and sugar.

            Let me repeat myself. Stella Liebeck was sitting in a motionless car when she spilled coffee that was so hot that she required skin grafts.

            Stop making assertions about how stupid people are based on made-up "facts".

    • IstartedtoreadthisbutIfoundthatitwasjustnotwortht h eefforttounderstandwhatitwasthatyouweretryingtosay Paragraphswereinventedforareasonthatbeingtoallowpa rtsofthetexttobelogicallygroupedtogetherthussepara tingouttheproseandmakingiteasiertounderstandtheaut horIreallyrecommendthatyoutakethismessagetoheartot herwisepeoplejustwontbeabletounderstandwhatitisyou aretryingtosay

      Actually, it was really hard to type that [grin] my fingers automatically put spaces in at the end of words!

      Simon
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Opportunist (166417)
        So do mine, but additionally, I have the problem that after every dot I almost automatically type "com".com
    • by giminy (94188)
      The problem isn't people. It's the legal system.

      For example, in the sex education case from your post, the girl probably tried to sue the football player first. The football player's lawyer came up with a great argument: "How can you prove my client is guilty? You haven't tried this other party (the school) first, and it appears that they're really to blame." This claim casts doubt on the the player's guilt. The trial cannot move forward until this question is examined (i.e. another trial). Only if th
    • Re:Blame (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rossifer (581396) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @01:14AM (#19101469) Journal

      Nowadays there are things gun maufacturers [sic] can do to make it hard for anyone other than the owner to use the gun.
      Just a few thoughts. All of those "things" that gun makers can add to the gun also make it harder for the owner to use the gun.

      Trigger lock? There's a key, somewhere around here... (there's actually a whole host of issues around these keys: five year olds understand locks and keys, so either they're with you or they're available to the kids.) I earnestly hope I don't have to figure out how to silently remove a trigger lock in the dark while an intruder is in the hall between me and my children.

      Magic ring that enables the electronic trigger? Hope the battery didn't die (in the ring and/or in the gun), hope the gunpowder residue and the cleaning fluid from the last time I was at the range didn't corrode or short out the circuitry. Hope the electronic components are able to handle the shock of firing the gun as durably as a mechanical trigger (unlikely, but possible).

      Personally, I like gun safes and pistol vaults. The pistol vault I like the best is the one with the touch combination that with a little practice, is very simple to get right, even in the dark, even under stress. Still an extra step, but it's a mighty small obstacle to me and a much bigger obstacle to the kids or to a thief (assuming I installed the pistol vault correctly and they can't just take the whole thing).

      Back to the point: there's nothing the gun manufacturer can do to the gun to make it harder for someone else to shoot that doesn't also make it less reliable or less available to me. But there are ways for gun owners to responsibly keep firearms, which leads the discussion to where the responsibility really lies: with the gun owner. If a kid takes one of my guns and accidentally kills another kid, I'm going to feel responsible for the tragedy. So I do what I can to minimize the chances of that happening while still keeping responsibility for my own self defense. And IMHO, that's how it should be.

      Regards,
      Ross
      • The safety of a gun is not in electronics, it's not in mechanics, it's in its owner. The only key I'll ever want on a gun is on its vault.

        Actually I've seen a good safety design lately that requires you to hold the grip fully, i.e. four fingers curling around the pistol have to lie in the usual place to make the gun fire. That's a good safety procedure, and I wonder why no other manufacturer ever had that idea.

        First of all, it's foolproof. You take your gun into your hand and it is automatically enabled. No
      • Off Topic (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bmsleight (710084)
        The best mechanism is just not to have a gun.
  • by LBArrettAnderson (655246) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @12:36AM (#19101299)
    I'm guilty of placing my trust in my HP Travel Companion perhaps a bit too much. It hasn't actually led me anywhere bad, but I do find myself paying attention to it instead of road signs. Now, I have gone on incorrect routes because I trust it to warn me of things ahead of time, but when the turn comes, I'm in the wrong lane (freeway splits, for example).

    That being said, I still won't ever get directions the old way ever again (unless they build a new city somewhere or something and I don't have the maps for it).
    • by ChronosWS (706209) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @12:45AM (#19101339)
      The way I usually navigate to places I don't know well is to consult an online map first, which provides good overall context to the route, plan the trip myself, then use the GPS only as a reminder. The only time I would use the GPS by itself is if I don't have a way to get the full context of my route. If you go to Google maps, for instance, and make a plan, then try to do the same on the GPS, you'll see the difference immediately - with the GPS it is nearly impossible to have a good sense of the whole route, so you might not even be able to tell if it sends down some bizarre route. As a pilot in training, I see warnings against relying on the instruments too much all the time. In spite of the fact that a lot of effort has gone into making everything accurate and useful, it is taught that it is critical you have as much awareness of what is going on around you at all times - and this means actually looking out of the airplane to confirm what your instruments are telling you. Relying on the GPS by itself to plan your route is equivalent to flying with your windows blacked out. If your instruments are wrong - and it does happen - you'll never know it, and who knows where you'll end up.
      • I'm similar in planning my trips, in that I will generally try to keep a paper map of the area with me - but I rely on the GPS for navigation, and fall back to the paper maps if something doesn't seem right.

        Generally, I will program the route in my GPS and look it over before I do the drive - that gives me an idea of what I'm doing. Unfortunately, that doesn't give me a full idea of what's going on, as if you don't know the area, you don't know what lane you have to be in at a given time. California is no
        • by ChronosWS (706209)

          Oh, I haven't actually used the map services directions in years now. The only times they are useful is when you are looking at the map and trying to determine where their line is really going. Often as not though their written directions are confounded by suprise street name changes or minor course corrections which result in three or four lines of 0.0 mile maneuvers that just make the list aggrivating.

          What I have personally found useful is to look at those maps, then WRITE the directions I see on t

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I'm not a pilot, but I always heard you're supposed to trust your instruments because your physical intuitions are crap in those environments. And the fact is, flying by instruments with your windows blacked out is not only possible, it's what, in effect, you are doing during storms and nighttime.
        • by ChronosWS (706209)
          Well, everything works together. There are things you use your instruments for, and things you use the seat of your pants for. Like anything, you have to know when it's appropriate to use an instrument (mechanical or biological), and you have to understand the limitations of that instrument. GPS navigation for many people is still a new instrument, and so the limitations are not yet well understood for them. Fortunately like all technologies this will improve over time. But it's a transition period now
        • by AJWM (19027)
          Yes, when you're flying instrument flight rules (we'll pretend than non-IFR pilots never push the envelope by flying through the occasional overcast, ahem) you watch the instruments and ignore what you think you're feeling about the plane.

          However, you're using more than just one instrument, and one of the aspects of learning instrument flight is learning how to cross check the different instruments in case one or more of them start lying to you (eg if the static pressure port gets plugged it's going to affe
    • by green1 (322787)
      >> placing my trust in my HP Travel Companion perhaps a bit too much
      I too have one of those devices and I love it, however I do not trust it to navigate for me, only to provide me some additional information to help me navigate.
      as an example, I have yet to find any way to convince it to take the only reasonable route from Calgary to Vancouver, it always goes a minimum of about 4-5 hours out of the way instead of taking the main highway that connects the 2 cities. that's only one of many errors I have
  • by EonBlueApocalypse (1029220) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @12:37AM (#19101303)
    Must be technologies way of thinning the herd.
  • by Gopal.V (532678) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @12:39AM (#19101315) Homepage Journal

    Douglas Adams had talked a lot about technology guiding our life. His posthumous book Salmon of Doubt talks about the intermediate phase between the current world of dumb electronics and the time when we have truly intelligent machines. The brief period when the machines are dumber than the average human, yet the human has too much confidence in the machine to trust his/her own judgment will be really bad.

    I'm afraid that is the world of Today. We trust our inanimate companions over humans because they are bereft of intent (and malice). But I suspect people are less likely to change than machines are likely to become more reliable. So ... ++CARRIER ERROR

    I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Mr Anderson :)
  • by Null537 (772236) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @12:42AM (#19101325)
    I work for a company that makes software that is used for navigation, and there are a good amount of tech support calls complaining about how the "program sent us down an unmarked dirt road!" They don't seem to realize that they drove themselves down the dirt road, on the suggestion of a computer. I think we've all seen our GPS's be off by a bit, some people are missing the fact that nothing is perfect, especially not a box with a tiny screen.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      I work for a company that makes software that is used for navigation, and there are a good amount of tech support calls complaining about how the "program sent us down an unmarked dirt road!" They don't seem to realize that they drove themselves down the dirt road, on the suggestion of a computer.

      Right - and the person/company that writes software stupid enough to include such routes bears none of blame? Bovine exhaust. I know it's popular on Slashdot to blame the sheeple - but this isn't a case of using

      • by Columcille (88542) *
        to direct someone down an unmarked dirt road takes a little more than that.

        Maybe I missed something but I didn't see "unmarked" mentioned anywhere. GPS units can't just make up or auto-detect roads, their maps come from other sources and are keyed in by individuals sitting in a desk somewhere, not people looking at the roads. Perhaps they do check some roads, but I very, very much doubt they go and look at every road to see what kind of road it is. If a map gives no indication that a particular road is d
  • Just more whining? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mkcmkc (197982) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @12:42AM (#19101327)
    Our city's newspaper had one of those "call for action" articles last week, in which a local resident was complaining about a ticket he got. Why was he complaining? Because he was pulled up behind a semi truck at a stop light, and went through the light after it turned red, because he couldn't see it (i.e., because he was tailgating the truck). His complaint was that it was all the fault of the traffic light, which was mounted too low. Idiots like this shouldn't be allowed to operate power tools, let alone drive cars.

    Anyway, the moral of the story is that we have an innate ability to shift blame. No "technology" is required. (Or rather, maybe blame shifting is a technology.)

  • by Aerinoch (988588) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @12:42AM (#19101329)
    Yeah... It's the e-mail that's stupid, not you, huh?
  • The woman's car got crunched because the rail crossing was so poorly lit and poorly marked that she didn't know she was on train tracks. I do think she's overreacting by swearing of navigation systems, but then I'm sitting at a desk and she nearly got hit by a train. Let some time go by and her head (and others) will clear and that problem with the crossing will be addressed.
    • by Columcille (88542) *
      and somehow she drove onto the tracks, got out of her car, walked across the tracks, and closed the gate - without ever realizing the tracks were there. I don't know about country tracks (assuming it's outside any city since she thought it was just some farm) in Europe, but it's hard to miss train tracks here. If you walk over some you have to be careful not to trip over them. How can she accidentally walk across tracks and at no point realize what she was walking over?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anne Thwacks (531696)
      the rail crossing was so poorly lit and poorly marked that she didn't know she was on train tracks

      This is in England! She had to open a huge great gate paitend white with red markings, weighing nearly half a ton to get on the tracks. This style of gate gates appear nowhere in England except at level crossings. If she did not know that, then she had clearly never taken a driving test.

      She is not only stupid, but also criminally insane.

      However, the British newspapers have it in for GPS because their staff are

  • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Sunday May 13, 2007 @12:57AM (#19101375) Journal
    I have a friend whose partner was driving down a motorway (equivalent to a freeway) in Britain. Unlike California where lanes are de-facto equivalent, in the UK it's customary to have faster lanes towards the "outside" (more to the right) of the road; she was driving in the fast lane at ~100 mph, as was typical for the road.

    Her BMW had an "intelligent" system on-board as well as the GPS, and out of nowhere, it told her to "stop the car". So she did. Quickly. In the fast-lane, on the motorway. Chaos ensued.

    She's not unintelligent (though, being blonde, she did get a certain amount of follicle-related humour directed at her), but she did as she was told, in a pressure-situation. She's one of those people who don't interact well with machines or computers. She didn't think it through, she just reacted. In fact there *was* something seriously wrong with the engine, but nothing that would prevent her from pulling onto the hard-shoulder (the emergency lane).

    There seems to be a tech-friendly "gene" (though whether it's nature or nurture is up for debate) whereby people either abrogate all responsibilty to the machine, or they treat it as an advisory adjunct to their daily lives. Perhaps it's just the growing pains of a society in the midst of rapid change. Perhaps in a couple of decades, when the holistic neural interface(TM) is commonplace, it'll be us "techno-savvy" yesterday's-(wo)men that people will be laughing and pointing fingers at, Nelson-like. I wonder what it'll feel like, when the boot is on the other foot...

    In other words, sure, people do stupid things, but this is an opportunity to educate, not to mock.

    Simon.
    • There's no gene, there's just a willingness (or unwillingness) to learn how to work with technology.

      At many of the places I have worked, a lot of the employees (especially older ones who grew up before personal computers) show no willingness to learn how the system works, they simply memorize the keystrokes or menu combinations for what they need to get done. If there is any deviation, then they will disturb somebody else for the answer. This in itself is not bad, but they just don't learn - after trying
      • by cgenman (325138)
        It's also difficult to learn how to use later bits of technology if you haven't learned how to use earlier ones. I suspect the GPS issues are one of the most insidious problems.

        For example, computers are supposed to be perfect calculating machines. Frequently, they tell you to do something or other, and they won't do anything until you obey. To be suspicious of your GPS, you have to know that computer systems are inherently flawed. Nobody ever trys to sell you one on this, you just have to know it by ye
    • A good friend of mine lost his beautiful 19-year-old daughter recently when a woman driving an SUV was told "turn left here" by her onboard navigation system - so she snapped the wheel to the left, into the girl's driver door, killing her. So, yeah, "Unthinking obedience to the technical gizmo" just about covers it. You can write this off as anecdotal if you wish, but that's the way it happened.
      • A good friend of mine lost his beautiful 19-year-old daughter recently when a woman driving an SUV was told "turn left here" by her onboard navigation system - so she snapped the wheel to the left, into the girl's driver door, killing her.

        I am very sorry to hear that. I ride a bike to and from work and the most dangerours drivers I have seen are people who call up a friend, usually the person they are meeting, to help navigate.

        Pilots have had to deal with technology for much longer than drivers. They are

    • Perhaps in a couple of decades, when the holistic neural interface(TM) is commonplace, it'll be us "techno-savvy" yesterday's-(wo)men that people will be laughing and pointing fingers at, Nelson-like.

      I see the opposite happening. Right now when one of us geeks has to fix a tech problem for somebody, we're considered a guru. When the rest of the world doesn't know how to walk on their own two feet without their "holistic neural interfaces" an we're the only ones that don't need a Cray to replace our brains

    • by mazarin5 (309432)
      In other words, sure, people do stupid things, but this is an opportunity to educate, not to mock.

      I think there's room enough for both. :)

    • by tshak (173364)
      but she did as she was told, in a pressure-situation.

      I'm failing to see the "pressure-situation" in your story. It sounds more like your friend is reactionary which is a *very* dangerous trait for someone who's driving on a motorway even at posted speeds let alone 100mph.
  • by evilviper (135110) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @01:05AM (#19101421) Journal
    The article makes it sound as if people are suspending their (previously) impeccable judgment when turning on their GPS unit... Certainly that's not the reality. The only thing new here is people blaming the GPS, instead of any other little thing that came to mind, like street lighting, road signs, other cars/pedestrians/animals, etc.
  • by theReal-Hp_Sauce (1030010) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @01:07AM (#19101433)
    "Attention: This machine has no brain, use your own!"

    -hps
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @01:08AM (#19101443)
    ...whatever you do, don't put the blame on you.

    It's actually quite common, and I think it has to do with the way many people are brought up. And it translates into our everyday life and actually corporate life.

    In many companies, it does not matter when anything goes wrong, as long as you got someone else to blame. It's funny. Should you happen to work in a large company and something goes wrong, take a close look around you. The only person or people who get(s) very nervous, no matter how trivial or bancrupcy-threatening it is, is the one who can't find anything or anyone to blame but himself.

    That's how our education and business system works. It starts with the homework-eating dog and doesn't even end at the report-shredding Xerox. It's never you. It's someone else or, and that's more comfortable, something. Something is better than someone, because something rarely objects.

    And technology is better than pets. First of all, the pet excuse gets old. And second, and that's more important, many people don't have the foggiest idea just what computers or gadgets can do. They will readily believe you. Not to mention that some things might have even happened to themselves already. Your report's not ready in time? Sorry, boss, computer BSODed on me, JUST before I could save.

    He'll understand. Take my word for it.
    • How could I?

      Let's not forget that something is usually made by someone. And this something must have been obviously broken, because you, of course, didn't do anything out of the ordinary. And since companies usually have some money, people get the big dollar-signs into their eyes and sue for some insane amount of money.

      Fortunately our courts started to see the difference between faulty products and pure stupidity. And, people, some of the accidents that happen, even gadget-related, ARE purely based on user
    • Strangely enough the military tries to demote this attitude by issuing those in training with the phrase "no excuse. {sir/ma'am/sergeant/etc}"

      If you reply otherwise, you may often find yourself in a lot more trouble than just accepting the blame for the situation - even if there IS a good reason.
  • once tripped onto a chair (she was around 3 years old) and hurt her knee.
    After crying a lot... she yelled: "TUPID CHAIR!" and kicked the chair.

    Somehow by reading the article summary this scene came to my mind.
  • People are getting themselves killed because of the gaps in the accuracy of the maps or in other human interface elements in in the units, that sounds like a pretty serious software/hardware glitch to me.

    On a technical standpoint, the GPS makers need to fix their bugs regardless of the legal blame game (in the long run it will result in a better system for all). Whether it tells people to "look up and make sure not to sit on any nearby railroad tracks" or something else I think it is an issue that needs to
  • This GPS technology must be one part of Skynet [slashdot.org]! First the robots are going to exterminate the stupid people, then they're going to make the smart ones sit at the terminal all day long and program them! MUWAHAHAHAHAH!!!
  • There are people driving off cliffs and through flooded roads and taking detours that span half of England, apparently at the behest of their navigation units. Things got so bad in one place that authorities even had to put up "ignore your sat nav" signs. Now, a woman's car got hit by a train, and for some reason, she's blaming a GPS navigation unit.

    Apparently working with a plethora of devices in your car isn't the best way to concentrate on what's right on front of you on the road.

    Here's your proof that p
  • Unlike technology we've been creating for the rest of history, technology since the invention of computers augment our thinking and decision making. Sometimes, it replaces our role as the thinker and decision maker, even when it wasn't intended or designed to be. Then when something goes wrong, it is easy for the person to blame the device instead of taking responsibility for himself. True the GPS unit told you go into the canal but it was you, the driver, who made the decision to let it be the primary d
  • Just technology? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NerveGas (168686) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @03:16AM (#19101977)

        Naw. People blame being wrong (or STUPID) on *anything*. Technology is just handy. Take it away, and they'll blame it on something else.

        Take one dude I know. He started accusing people of hiding his smokes because he couldn't find them. When everyone told him "Nobody hid your smokes, man.", he got pissed, through a tantrum, and said "Well, I guess that God must not want me to smoke, because HE must have hid my cigarettes!"

          That was while he was sober. You should have seen him on the sauce.
  • Big Surprise (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pipingguy (566974) * on Sunday May 13, 2007 @04:54AM (#19102351) Homepage
    As a board-trained draftsman since the late seventies I've noticed this more and more. Not once were our pencils ever "upgraded" causing confusion or work shutdown. When the pencil lead broke, you'd just re-sharpen it and keep on working. Nowadays, producing a technical document is much more complicated, and while I enjoy the power of 3D CAD I do wonder about the latest generations who are often helpless without a computer and hopeless with a pencil.
  • Haven't we all... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xenobyte (446878) on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:27AM (#19112877)
    Experienced GPS navigators telling us to make U-turns in the middle of freeways, to turn right where there's no sign of any road on the right hand side and so on?

    One thing is that people are stupid enough to follow such directions, another is that the map technology clearly isn't up to par. Imagine a car with 'auto-drive' that blindly follows directions just like people do, but without the little bit of sanity that made those ambulance drivers stop after 200 miles and realize that they were a bit off course... A computerized driver would just have kept on going, possibly attempting to reach the goal going 'the other way', i.e. around the globe, which includes a fair amount of undersea driving...
  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Monday May 14, 2007 @12:15PM (#19115475) Homepage
    Google has put in a link that says you can get from New York City to France by the action of "Swim across the Atlantic".

    As such, it will give driving directions to any western European country from any Continential state.

    The wierd part is, it will not give directions to get to Brazil from New York, even though it IS driveable

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