Minimizing damage when technology fails

David Berlind, on ZD Net, gets to worrying: For all the good it does, technology often fails us in big ways

So, why was this a failure and what lessons can be learned from this case study for anyone like the Feds whose thinking about tying the proper functioning of a car to a GPS device. First, the idea that a malfunctioning device landed me in court is simply absurd. My punishment (the $100 fine) was in essentially effect until proven otherwise.

The bottom line is that it’s not just the fallibilty of the technology that’s the problem. It’s the assumption that people are guilty until proven innocent when the technology fails and the wasteful if not unconstitutional process that follows. What’s even worse is that the technology actually exists to mitigate that assumption and how no one is bothering to use it.

This is the speed limits problem. Technology makes it easy to measure speed. A piece of equipment can be used to make the case that the measure was accurate and precise. The problem is that there is no such measure for the validity of the speed limit nor for the assessment of a safe speed for the given conditions. Technology becomes a means to rationalize a lie. It can only happen when intellectual integrity suffers.

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