Thursday, January 18, 2007


As I fasten my seatbelt the taxi driver says, “Just let me enter your address into my GPS.”

Okay, I am willing to wait.  There is a moment’s wait, then a female voice says, “Proceed on the highlighted route.” We are on our way. 


Cute, I think.  But then, as we back out of the parking lot she says, “Turn left in 500 meters.”


“That’s Sarah,” the driver says affectionately.  Ï can turn her volume down if you like”.


I will admit that Sarah is a little imposing.  She constantly interrupts, never waiting her turn to speak.  But I don’t want her turned down.  This lady seems to know what she is talking about. 


I want to listen to her.  All the way to my house she guides him.  Every time he turns a corner she tells him how far it is to the next corner.  She gives him a 500-meter warning before every turn.  She tells him which lane to be in to make the turn.  She tells him how to exit the rotaries. 


I am now on full alert.  The ultimate test of her abilities is coming up.  Will she be smarter than ninety percent of the taxi drivers who come to my house?  Will she know you have to turn right at 89 Street, even though logic would tell you to turn left? 


“Turn right in 500 meters,” says Sarah.  Then she tells him my house is on the right. 


As we near the house I feel compelled to help the driver.  For I have information Sarah will surely not have.  “Look for the white picket fence,” I say. 


Ï see it,” he says, but Sarah is interrupting. 


“You have arrived,” she announces. 


As I turn my key in the lock of my own front door it dawns on me that technology has now advanced to the point where Sarah can probably guide me to the door of any house or business in Edmonton. At the moment I would be making the journey on foot, with Sarah telling me the street numbers and letting me know when I have reached the door.  But maybe next year, or the year after, I will get behind the wheel of a car and Sarah will guide me around other cars as we follow the route.  Science fiction meets reality—in a good way.

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