|TomTom GO LIVE|
|Written by Murphy Simmonds|
IT MIGHT get you around a traffic jam, but at what cost? We'd rather TomTom GO LIVE came without the Orwellian overtones.
Technology is becoming fearsome. The nightmarish predictions of science fiction, those visions of future worlds in which every human action is monitored, processed and recorded, are creeping ever closer. Know what the worst thing is? We’re not putting up a fight. We’re not even complaining. On the contrary, we’re embracing this downward spiral to dystopia with open arms and wide grins. We’re turning to our friends in the street, whipping our phones out of our pockets and saying: “Hey, guess what - this thing knows where I am".
Oh my god. It knows where you are."It’s the kind of astounding innovation that makes you feel insignificant and paranoid at the same time"
Have we thought this through? No, no we haven’t. Instead, we bimble around like the bipedal ants that we are, cheerily keying our personal data into every electronic device that allows it on the blind assumption that this is a good thing, that our lives will be incomplete until our mp3 player matches music to our heartbeat, our television predicts precisely what we want to watch and our sandwich toaster knows our preferred brand of marmalade and favourite sexual position. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Perhaps that’s a little negative. Because whether you like it or fear it, there are some substantial benefits to this terrifying trend. Sat nav is one area of gadgetry with plenty to gain. It has already granted us the ability to dispense with decision making and forethought while driving, as long as we don’t mind that an orbiting spaceship knows our exact location.
The TomTom GO x40 LIVE goes a step further. Firstly it sucks up a bundle of traffic jam information, generating a live map of known congestion points. Second, it predicts how long it expects a drive through said hotspots would take. Finally, it combines all the data with the co-ordinates of your car and your destination, and works out a constantly updated ideal route.
That’s all pretty amazing. But the scary part is step two. Just how, you might ask, does TomTom work out the journey time through these constantly changing clogged-up roads? The answer is mobile phones. Specifically, the system charts the progress of vehicle-based phone owners in these hotspots who have stated they don’t mind being observed. They’re anonymous, obviously, little more than blobs of data analysed for the good of those wishing to pay TomTom’s £10 monthly LIVE subscription. It’s the kind of astounding innovation that makes you feel insignificant and paranoid at the same time. If you’re that way inclined.
For the sake of completeness, we should point out that the service has just come to the UK after cropping up in the Netherlands last year, is available from £300 on the TomTom GO 940 LIVE, 740 LIVE and 540 LIVE (plus that subscription after three months) and also comes with details of fuel prices, speed cameras and a Google local search to find out a bit more about wherever you’re headed.
We have to admit, we’d absolutely love one, if we ever left the shed. As things stand, we’re so busy converting the place into an underground bunker that we’re not seeing much of the outside world. Still, it’s probably seeing plenty of us. Brrr.