We live in a semiotarchy
19.46, Wednesday 16 Dec 2020 Link to this post
Our street seems to have become a waiting point for ride-share drivers between jobs. We’re haunted by black saloon cars, parked up with motors idling, drivers tapping their apps.
Separately, our street is periodically used as a route for large trucks and coaches – which then either get stuck going round the corner at one end, and have to reverse back all the way; or at the corner on the other end, go straight over a bollard and leave debris everywhere. I don’t know whether this is an occasional mislabelling of our street as a phantom major road, or ripples from roadworks a mile away fooling the routing algorithms.
Data in the mirror world is making it noisy outside my house. The map is intruding on the territory.
It’s contested. Los Angeles is a city of need-to-know neighbourhood shortcuts being revealed by Waze, the pro Google Maps:
The Waze algorithms don’t care about the societal cost they inflict and neither does Waze if the algorithm calculates that a cut-through may save seconds. “The instant the time penalties work out,” DwarfLord claims, “Waze will just as happily send a thousand Wazers down a Passageway as it would [a single] one.”
Local residents attempt to wrest control of the map. Anyone can make suggestions to the Waze, and so, to solve this particular problem, a Level 3 community editor
suggests setting a segment at each end of a tiny road as “unpaved.” Or marking it as a “gated community.”
I suggest that we have entered a semiotarchy – like an oligarchy or a plutarchy, only our era is the tyranny of signs.