Ponderings with Doug – October 2, 2015

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I don’t know if Google is great or is a metaphor for a pot of slowly boiling water and you and I are the frogs. I do know that when I want to know something fast I “google it.” When I am homesick I can go to Google Maps and look at the house I grew up in. I can actually make the map function in a way that if I have the time I can “drive” across my old hometown. That is pretty cool on those afternoons when I have nothing to do. I have had six of those afternoons in the last six years!

Google is creating a new way to consume information. Here is the list of things Google will render obsolete or anachronisticwithin the next fifty years: cable and satellite television, broadcast and XM radio, newspapers (sorry guys), Walmart and most brick and mortar department stores. The good news is that places like Natchitoches should thrive because people will long for the days of mom and pop stores and places where you can actually walk out of a store with merchandise!

The seeds for the cyber economy are planted and growing. I will be pushing up daises before these seeds are fully grown. I’m sure my children and future grandchildren will have a cool time with all the new Google gadgets.

Google is testing a driverless car. You can google the google car and look at it. It looks like a Ping-Pong ball with wheels. It would not stand up well in any kind of accident, but with technology there will not be any more accidents. Computers and sensors will instruct cars to stop or turn to avoid accidents. Our kids are excited because they will be able to ride in the car and text at the same time. You can set your destination and fall asleep and the car will do all the driving. You can doze through the boring parts of the drive and wake up refreshed as you near your destination. You can spend time in your driverless car googling things. As a parent you could program the car to come home before curfew has arrived. The possibilities and opportunities afforded by a driverless car and mind boggling.

In tests the Google cars do a great job of driving on country roads and Interstate highways. There is only one thing a Google car can’t do. It is such a problem it has brought the program to a dead halt. Hard to believe that one small problem could crash such a noble and visionary technological advancement.

Google cars can’t do four way stops!

The cars are programmed to handle a four way stop legalistically. The car is to stop. Evaluate the other stopped cars at the intersection, determine the proper rotation and go at the proper time. The car can’t deal with the way humans do four way stops. Are you guys noting I have issues with four way stops? The Google car is confused because most real drivers don’t stop at a four way stop. There is movement that the computer defines as “not stopping.” We roll at a four way until it is time to roll through the four way. Along with our rolling stops the Google car has a problem with our inability to count at four way stops. When someone allows another to go out of turn, isn’t paying attention to the rotation, or when someone rudely goes out of turn the Google car computer stops functioning. The car must reboot to move on. I wonder what the car would do with our six-way-four-way stop.

I won’t feel so bad when we have one of those paralyzed-at-a-four-way-stop moments downtown. I’m going to grin and remind myself that the world’s smartest computer people can’t figure out a four way stop. If the Natchitoches traffic czar is reading, Google can’t figure out four way stops! Take the hint, put the lights back! At Amulet and 2nd if you are not going to paint STOP on the new pavement, at least bolt down the stop signs. Our out of town visitors don’t know that is a four way stop. That intersection would cause a Google car to completely break down. I wonder if there is a therapy that can help with my four way stop issues.

If Google is confounded by four way stops can we relax and let go of the idea thatwe must have all the answers. There are some questions that can’t be answered. Mystery makes life interesting. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free.” He didn’t say you will know the answers and the answers will make you free.

That wasn’t the answer you were expecting was it?

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