Things are about to get very interesting in Leonia, New Jersey, as residents begin to receive tickets for not avoiding traffic.
If you think that this sounds like a bizarre and inexorable misuse of just about every resource involved in the concept, you would be absolutely right. Hell, you may even be underreporting on the waste.
The idea here is simple; the residents of Leonia are sick and tired of cars packing the neighborhood streets during rush hour. For this inconvenience of inconveniences, the Leonians blame Google Maps and Waze, who use rerouting algorithms to help their users avoid heavy traffic, construction, and accidents. In giving these weary and bleary eyed road warriors an alternate route, our usual highway riders end up on the suburban byways instead, giving some of the snowflakes in Leonia a headache.
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In order to remedy the problem, Leonia police are about to start dishing out $200 tickets for folks who venture off the highway at the behest of Google’s computational arrangement.
“The ordinance establishes a $200 fine for short-cutters. But Leonia Mayor Judah Zeigler said it’s really all about those apps.
“’The main reason and driver behind this legislation is to get the navigational apps like Waze, Google Maps and others to remove our side streets from their algorithms and not offer them as recommendations,’ he said.
“’They will do that once this legislation takes effect.’
“The mayor said the legislation gives the navigational apps no choice but to warn drivers that cutting through could cut into their wallets.”
While this may seem like a proper solution for the annoyed citizens of Leonia, it also spawns an entirely new argument regarding the public transportation infrastructure in America.
The very idea behind our complex road system is to make navigating easier and more efficient. These roads are public after all, and whose to say that I can’t drive my lifted 4×4 down the same suburban street as my fellow American’s battery powered 4 door gumball? Sure, the Leonia Department of Transportation is funded by the people of Leonia, but there isn’t a DOT on the map who doesn’t also receive federal funding.
And let’s not even touch the idea that the roads that I fund through my taxes are open to you.
This algorithmic manipulation could be seen as nothing more than an overarching re-privatization of the public space. If Google is going to manipulate the way in which we navigate the world, there is no limit to the depth of its corruption. This corruption won’t be purely financial either, rather, it will be predicated by Google’s own business interests. Should Google open a shipping department to compete with FedEx or UPS, there is no way to keep Google from cultivating the entirety of the nation’s traffic for their liking, effectively monopolizing themselves at will.
Once this is challenged in court, Google will merely have a scientific threshold of throttling that they will be allowed to maintain through these practices, with systems in place to make sure that they are never in court again over the now-unstoppable takeover of the public transportation system.