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Why I ran a-waze

Waze is a navigation app that you can install on your phone. It shares out your phone’s location and speed in order to create a real time speed map based on data from all the users around you. For that purpose Waze works really well. It was able, for example to route me around a traffic snarl in my local neighborhood in a really creative way. It’s really an awesome app for doing things like daily commutes if there are issues with variable traffic patterns. Given how well it works it was with regret that I uninstalled it.
The reason that I uninstalled it is that I felt that by using it I was condoning dangerous behavior. Behavior that could literally get people killed. The issue I saw with Waze is that I believe its UX encourages people to interact with the app while driving. Waze doesn’t just want to collect speed data. It wants more specific information such as the presence of speed traps, accidents, etc. Entering this information requires touching the phone while driving. I believe that is encouraging incredibly dangerous behavior that puts both the driver and everyone around them in danger. To the extent that I use Waze I am benefiting from the peril that I believe the app puts its users and those around them in. That would be, I think, unethical so I had to uninstall what is an otherwise very useful app.

2 Responses to Why I ran a-waze

  1. savagestranger says:

    This is an old post, in internet time, but for posterity sake, I’d like to comment. I agree that it’s dangerous to input data while driving, but it is very useful if you have a copilot. Also, I believe that there is a plugin app that allows voice commands. So to summarize, there is no reason to “throw the baby out with that bathwater”, as they say. If we had to forsake all things that have potential for unethical use, where would we be?

  2. Administrator says:

    The problem is that I had what I believed to be a reasonable suspicion that the majority of people inputing data into the app were not using a co-pilot (most Americans drive alone) and weren’t using the voice commands. Fiddling around with your phone while driving is exactly as dangerous as driving while drunk. Therefore the data collected by the app was created by directly endangering other drivers. As such if I benefited from that information than I was supporting putting those other driver’s lives in danger. That’s why I abandoned the app.

    BTW, there is good reason to believe that voice commands aren’t safe either. For example, see http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2013/06/using_voice_commands_to_send_texts_while_driving_more_dangerous_then_talking_on_phone_study_says.html.

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