I’ve long been amazed by electronic car navigating devices like Garmin’s, for example.

On reflection, there are 3 reasons for it. First, many tools, like a chainsaw or tractor, extend the range of human power but still require to be competently operated by the user. The navigator, on the other hand, completely takes over this function of reason. No skills are required to use it.

Second, not only does it replace me 100%, but it does the job vastly better than I ever could, even if I were sitting in the passenger seat buried in paper maps.

Finally, on ships the navigator in a manner of speaking exceeds even the captain in rank, since the navigator tells the captain where to go, commanding him. A tool would normally obey my commands, but in this case the machine rules me. I keep left when it tells me to keep left; I turn when it tells me to turn. The navigator is the brain; I am just the muscle.

In addition, it’s very easy to keep the device up to date, which keeps it functional for many years.

These facts make it seem as if the navigator is alive. Astonishing!

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