Tuesday, March 17, 2020

WAZE and SIRI in conflict

flummoxed by our AIs

“Turn left on Asheville Highway,” so I do,
then immediately I hear
“turn left” on a small street,
then “turn left” again on another small street,
then “turn left on Asheville Highway,”
then “return to the route,” 
I repeat this absurd reality a few times, 
thinking there must be method in what seems madness,

I had used WAZE to get to Greeneville, TN,
then I asked SIRI to get me to Spruce Pine, NC,

since I hadn’t gotten to the center of Greeneville,
WAZE was determined to get me there,
and I could not figure how to turn it off,
its screen insistent on my setting up a carpool,
SIRI was determined to instruct me
how to get to Spruce Pine,
each GPS tool using the same smart phone voice
with no cognitive dissonance, except in me,
just an imperative insistence I should follow its instructions,

I felt like a rat, trapped in a maze,
completely flummoxed by contradictory imperatives,

most of us are happy to be 
beyond physical maps and dead reckoning,
giving up navigating decisions to an A.I.
who knows just where I am,
and where everything else is,
just not able to let me control the vector of its directions,

our red reality and our blue reality leave us purple.
by Henry H. Walker
March 14, ‘20

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