For more than a decade, my dad has praised the use of GPS as one of the greatest technological marvels of our time. He isn't very technologically inclined and can barely check his emails on his own without assistance from a millennial or younger, but he does have a point. After all, drivers have come a long way from having to unfold maps and peer at tiny fonts just to get to where they're going. Now, navigating to a new place in your car is as easy as Googling it.
But GPS has been around for way longer than my dad realizes. It has evolved to a point where folks are getting a little uncomfortable with how specific GPS has become. And that's saying something for an era where our devices practically know what we're thinking by now.
This casual driver wants her GPS to stop being so darn specific.
In a TikTok video posted in early December 2023, Katy took the time to complain about her GPS. She did it while she was driving, which we absolutely don't recommend. But I digress.
In her 55-second video, Katy refers to how GPS in phones and cars will calculate the time it will take for you to drive to your destination. However, she specifically talks about how uncomfortably detailed that calculation has become.
According to her, certain GPSs will now calculate your ETA based on your own driving habits. While most systems will offer a general time of arrival based on driving conditions, some will now come up with an ETA based on how fast you tend to drive on average.
Katy isn't happy with this particular statistic. Instead, she prefers to receive the general ETA and to watch herself beat it on her own based on her driving.
"I don't want my GPS to know how fast I usually go," she proclaimed. "I want you to tell me that it's gonna be an hour and 10 minutes and I wanna see myself shave 15 minutes off my drive."
Katy continues, "I don't want you to tell me what time I'm gonna get there with speeding. Because what if I don't feel like speeding that day? Just tell me how long it takes a normal person."
I haven't had a GPS do this to me, but there are a few things wrong with this.
First, let's be real. Anyone who drives is guilty of fudging the numbers on speed limits at least a little. We don't need our GPSs calling us out for that. The whole thing also reeks of everyone's modern fear of digital systems finding out way too much about us than they have any right to know.
That said, folks in the comments have certainly noticed this trend for themselves.
One person wrote, "I was wondering why I have been going 90mph and still getting places at the GPS time."
Another person echoed Katy's request, writing "Tell me how long it will take going the legal speed limit!"
As for me, my go-to GPS on my phone tracks how fast I'm going in the moment and takes traffic into account when calculating an ETA. I've never had a GPS learn how fast I tend to drive and frankly, I'd rather keep it that way.
This is a message to all GPSs out there. Let us figure out how fast we're gonna arrive somewhere! We don't need monitoring in absolutely everything that we do, although many devices seem to think otherwise.