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    UK Avalon Founder Bill Ryan's Avatar
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    Default Over-reliance on tech can be deadly

    This is a tragic incident with an important moral to the story. There's a lot I could add to this, but I'll keep it as short and concise as possible. It's about how over-reliance on a single iPhone ended up killing 7 people.

    Here's one of the many web articles, quite a good one:
    There's also a 20-minute video here, but it's not very good:
    I can summarize it all very briefly.

    In April 2018, a group of ski-mountaineers hired a guide to traverse the week-long, 100-mile Haute Route ("High Level Route"), between Chamonix in France and Zermatt in Switzerland. They encountered a serious blizzard, and to effect the critically important navigation to safety the guide only had his iPhone, with a GPS app and a digital map.

    But the iPhone froze and the battery died. He had no spare batteries, and no standalone GPS device. He made other serious errors too, and mistakes were also made by the other members of the party who deferred all the decision-making to the 'expert'. (Where have we heard this before?)

    Totally lost, the group had to dig into the snow as best they could to endure a freezing night. They had no shelter with them (and astonishing to me) they all split up to fend for themselves rather than forming a 14-person dogpile, which would have been pretty uncomfortable but warm enough for them all to survive the night. A helicopter reached them in the morning, but by the time it was all over 7 of the 14 had died.

    All this was because the guide was depending on his iPhone, which failed in the cold. He didn't even have a paper map and compass. OMG.

    ~~~

    I'll add a couple of personal experiences to this, which some readers might find interesting. They do enhance the moral of the story.

    Many years ago, I did this very same French Haute Route myself, with a friend. No guide. Moreover, neither of us had ever been ski-mountaineering before. We just bought new mountaineering skis and boots and flew to Chamonix. We could downhill ski (though not very well!), but we were good mountaineers. That's the part that's important.

    This was long before the days of iPhones and GPS. We had a compass each, and plastic-laminated paper maps. While we learned to ski with backpacks on (by Day 3 we'd got a lot better!), we knew exactly where we were every inch of the way.

    On the final day we too were hit by a fierce blizzard. At one point, my friend sat down in the snow, exhausted, closed his eyes and told me he was just so tired he wanted to go to sleep.

    I shook him to his feet and told him strongly that we had to keep moving at all costs. (Which we did. ) At one point, we encountered a group of 6 Germans (this was hilarious, like something out of Monty Python) who were trying to ski in the blizzard, all tied closely together on a single rope.

    Every 20 seconds one of them would fall, and then the rest would all go down like dominoes, swearing at each other (Himmel! Schweinhund!! etc. ). We quietly skied past them, amazed.

    A few years after that, I skied the Italian High Level Route, solo, in February. I didn't know it at the time, but I was the first person ever to do that, solo in winter. No guide, no iPhone, no GPS.

    That was a 4-day trip, but it was much higher, more remote and more serious than the French Haute Route. Again, on the last day I was hit by a ferocious blizzard. I took my skis off and picked my way down with utmost care through a crevasse-field in the whiteout. It took me hours, but I knew what I was doing and was entirely safe. Again, I had my compass and map and I always knew exactly where I was.

    There are parallels here with ocean sailing. If your GPS and auto-navigation fails, you'd better have a sextant and know how to use it. (My guess: only 1 in 500 sailors these days would even know how to hold a sextant, let alone use it.)

    And there are comedic incidents too. Maybe someone else can find this, but once I saw a YouTube video of a car whose driver (with his unfortunate trusting wife) had followed his faulty GPS navigator without question, and drove right off the road into the ocean.

    And there's the apocryphal story (is it true??) of the guy who'd bought a new Winnebago RV, set it to cruise control on the highway, and with no-one at the wheel went into the back to make himself a cup of coffee. He'd thought the cruise control would also steer the thing for him. (He crashed, of course, but like the couple above who drove into the ocean I believe he survived.)

    Do we have any more stories like this?
    Last edited by Bill Ryan; 5th November 2022 at 17:45.

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    United States Moderator Sue (Ayt)'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Over-reliance on tech can be deadly

    Quote Posted by Bill Ryan (here)

    Do we have any more stories like this?
    Why yes - reminded me of this recent news report that I was shaking my head over just the other day. Although sadly, it didn't surprise me.

    GPS leads NC man to washed out bridge, where he drives off the edge to his death

    HICKORY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The family of a man who drove off a damaged bridge and died is now demanding answers.

    "How could you let this happen? How could this be like this? I don't understand. Explain to me how you could leave this here," Alicia Paxson said.

    According to ABC affiliate WSOC, North Carolina State Highway Patrol said the crash happened late at night on Sept. 30. Alicia's husband, Phillip Paxson, was driving in his pickup truck after going to a birthday party for his 9-year-old daughter.

    Paxson was following his GPS and it reportedly took him down a road and to a bridge that washed out more than 8 years ago. The bridge did not have any barriers or warning signs to deter drivers.

    Highway Patrol previously said the road and the bridge were not under the state's jurisdiction or inside Hickory city limits. Barriers that were previously placed on the road had been vandalized and taken away.

    The investigation into what happened continues. In the meantime, the Paxson family is asking for prayers and for someone to take responsibility for this tragedy.
    https://abc11.com/phil-paxson-bridge...y-nc/12312299/
    "We're all bozos on this bus"

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    UK Avalon Member Journeyman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Over-reliance on tech can be deadly

    Quote Posted by Bill Ryan (here)

    Do we have any more stories like this?
    Nothing so dramatic or tragic, but as a general trend I can see this increasing year on year. The more that electronic devices make things easier, the more reliant people become upon them and the lazier and more complacent they get at maintaining the fallback option. This even goes down to navigation in cars, people are utterly dependent on GPS to the point where they'll drive off a cliff if it tells them to. I packed an emergency bag for a young relative who had just passed their test and took them through each item, including paper maps which left them nonplussed!

    I used to sail a bit and read some of my fathers seasmanship course materials. The other day I found myself watching a video on navigation, which was really well done. It's quite basic stuff really, taking bearings, estimating tidal drift etc. Absolute lifesaver though, especially if someone decides to turn GPS off, which they can easily do and will of course if war spreads.

    I look around me I and think we are ill prepared for the harsher times that look to be on the horizon. Remember the young marines that were taken prisoner in the straights of hormuz and one of them was upset that they took his ipod and wondered if he'd get it back? That saying ''Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.' it seems ever more apt for the place that we're heading.

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    Avalon Member norman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Over-reliance on tech can be deadly

    Metaverse twinning doesn't work with real analogue skills and methods.

    If you haven't investigated the development of the Metaverse maybe you should. Personally, I've tried a few times but I can't handle wallowing in the insanity of it all.

    I looked last night to see if anyone has ever started a thread here about the Metaverse and didn't see one. Probably I'm not the only one who can't face the task.


    edit to add:

    We're probably not very far away from the threshold of insanity where dying ( in the real world ) from relying on technology, becomes a sales pitch for the metaverse where you can drive off a cliff without dying. Where the God of the Metaverse can save your Metaverse life for you, as long as you are a true believer with a high enough credit score.
    Last edited by norman; 5th November 2022 at 20:00.
    ..................................................my first language is TYPO..............................................

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    UK Avalon Founder Bill Ryan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Over-reliance on tech can be deadly

    Quote Posted by Bill Ryan (here)
    Do we have any more stories like this?
    I started looking, and I found dozens. OMG.

    (This is just a small sample)
    And back to the theme of my opening post:
    A personal addendum: I shared above how when I skied the French and Italian High Level Routes, that was before the days of iPhones or GPS. I relied entirely on a map and compass that I could hold in my hand.

    I still do. I don't have a smartphone, or a Garmin GPS. I wouldn't want either. I rely on and trust my map-reading skills and mountain experience, which are both pretty strong.

    And a final PS: some readers may remember my highly strange experience at the Haunted Lakes, deep in the mountains here in Ecuador. My dog Mara became spooked and extremely frightened by something that I could not see — while at the same time I became uncharacteristically disoriented with 'something telling me' to continue in entirely the wrong direction. Aware that something was way all wrong, I sat down, got focused, reached for my compass, and figured it out. (I recorded it all on real-time video. )

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    Ireland Avalon Member JackMcThorn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Over-reliance on tech can be deadly

    This is slightly off-topic regarding tech; but it deals with common sense and is a bit humorous so it might be worth a couple minutes. This is a true story.

    Some decades ago the Japanese were dealing with an aviation project and enlisted the u.s. for some support in the testing phases. One of the tests was to fire a whole chicken at the front of the plane in the area of the cockpit. This test was designed to be overkill in the event a plane came into contact with a feathered creature whom in most cases wouldn't be larger than a chicken. [Although there are cases in which they are larger.]

    So the diligent Japanese team followed the directions of this test to a T; according to the inspection standards the u.s. provided.

    So they fired the chicken and were astonished. The chicken passed right through the fuselage and stuck straight into one of the pilot's seats. They reviewed all of their data and could not find an error in their conduct of the test.

    So the u.s. examined all of the details and realised they used a Frozen chicken. [hee hee]

    Even the best and brightest make mistakes, with or without tech.
    Irishness is not primarily a question of birth or blood or language; it is the condition of being involved in the Irish situation, and usually of being mauled by it. ~ Conor C. O'Brien [1917-2oo8]

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    Default Re: Over-reliance on tech can be deadly

    Over-reliance or stupidity?
    How do you end up with your car in the lake because of a faulty GPS? I think such people would end up in the lake sooner or later with or without technology.
    Of course we are too dependent on technology, at the same time it makes our lives much easier.
    Should we go back to washing clothes by the creek?
    Is every mind connected to form a peer to peer network that creates the illusion of a shared reality, making the appearance of material reality a simulation created through shared beliefs?

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    Default Re: Over-reliance on tech can be deadly

    I always plan a trip with maps and never rely on satnav. A friend was coming up from London; come up the A1, it's the easiest route I told her. The satnav took her up the M1 (often a nightmare road) and through a town that is horrendous to navigate. She arrived 2 hours late.

    This has always stuck in my mind, fortunately no casualties but it was a day out ruined for a group of school kids.

    https://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/128...atnav-slip-up/

    Quote A coachload of Hampshire schoolchildren on a day trip to Hampton Court Palace never arrived after the driver using satellite navigation ended up 18 miles away at the wrong Hampton Court.

    The children, from Orchard Lea Junior School in Fareham, set off to go to the historic palace in Surrey but the experienced driver got confused with the satnav and headed to Hampton Court in Islington, north London.

    The coach then got stuck in traffic and roadworks.

    After five hours of driving around the teacher, who had got off the bus at one point to buy a map, called a halt and the group went back home and never got to the attraction.

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    UK Avalon Founder Bill Ryan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Over-reliance on tech can be deadly

    Bumping this thread with a new report.
    (...though the smiley may be inappropriate. This can sometimes be deadly serious)
    Hikers Need Rescue after following Non-Existent Trail on Google Maps



    After several hikers got lost while following a trail on Google Maps, a search-and-rescue group in British Columbia has released some sage advice: Don’t use Google Maps for hiking.

    In the last two months, two separate hikers got lost and needed rescue while following a Google Maps trail north of Mount Fromme, an area with steep cliffs located near Vancouver. A third hiker died in the area two years ago in the same area, the CBC reported.

    The search-and-rescue group, North Shore Rescue, has now successfully petitioned Google to have the non-existent trail removed from its map app, it announced Nov. 6 on Facebook.

    There are several “lessons learned” the group shared in its post. First, if you’re going to hike with a phone as guidance, try to use an app made specifically for hiking, like CalTopo or Gaia. Second, they recommend “a good old fashioned paper map and compass.”

    https://facebook.com/NorthShoreRescu...14660897375556

    (...the article continues)

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    Default Re: Over-reliance on tech can be deadly

    Many National Parks in Australia used to have a paper map printed out available near the start of a trail so a hiker could take the map with them so they didn't get lost. Some hikes are more than one day, or you can stay overnight for several days before you reach your destination.


    Now many parks have taken away that printed map and you are asked to take out your phone and take a picture of the one map provided at the start of the walk. Sometimes people run out of batteries on their phones or can be in a place with no signal if they get lost. So this is really not practical and very risky, so people should print a map out before they leave home or purchase a map before heading out. This of course is a new "smart" way to save paper

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    Default Re: Over-reliance on tech can be deadly

    that needs common sense to kick in, what is wrong with old printed paper maps? and what about open their goddamn eyes when driving, fall in a lake because the GPS was wrong that is too much folks haha

    I know many cases end up in death, but it is almost like a suicide. Another thing that I experience others fully trusting in Apps to find edible mushrooms and some people end up dead because the damn phone said the shroom was good for eat. So many cases where people place too much trust to these devices of today.
    --
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