Preservation 50 Friday: Would you trust your life to a computer?

(Following several shipping disasters near Evanston, local residents successfully lobbied the federal government for a lighthouse. Construction was complete in 1873.

Following several shipping disasters near Evanston, local residents successfully lobbied the federal government for a lighthouse. Construction was complete in 1873.

I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t trust my life to a computer. In this age of self driving cars like Tesla, I don’t think I’d book a flight on a self driving Jet. Would you?

So when I read an article from Lighthouses of Europe by Daniel Charles that said GPS could replace Lighthouses making them obsolete, I took a pause. Lighthouses have a history of saving countless lives by warning of treacherous reefs and hazards. Mariners can track where they are by the daymark and flashing signal beam. Most lighthouses are now automated.

And GPS? The GPS signal sometimes falters. Navigation systems  err.

Google maps is pretty reliable but recently it told me and my daughter to get off an exit then get back on the highway only to be told to get off the next exit and get back on the highway again. We decided to use common sense and ignore Google maps. It probably wasn’t updated we surmised.

At least It was no life and death matter we were only going to church. I felt like Google was more about fire and brimstone than the sermon we heard that day!

GPS and Google rely on satellites. I think we forget that satellite signals can sometimes be blocked. Granted Lighthouses aren’t full proof either but together with GPS it makes a strong case for safety.

Even self driving cars have the capability of being overridden by a human for safety reasons. Otherwise you’d have computers playing Russian Roulette at an approaching accident and deciding who should live or die. Life is complicated enough.

 

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