Leading article: Technological breakdown

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The Independent Online

If you find yourself in a motorway traffic jam, departure lounge, stationary train, anchored ferry today, remember: it could probably be worse. Consider the case of the busload of pensioners whose satellite navigation system told them that there was a convenient short cut to the country pub in which they planned to have lunch. When they followed the machine's instructions they found themselves wedged between hedgerows for nearly four hours after the gadget sent them down an impassable country lane. They escaped only by driving across some newly ploughed fields.

There are a number of lessons we can draw from this incident: mistrust of disembodied voices is justified; humans (both male and female) are better at reading maps than machines and, most important of all, the best way to get where you want to go is to maintain a healthy independence of mind. But we would say that, wouldn't we?

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