Artist creates “traffic jam” on Google Map with wagon of smartphones – KIRO 7 News Seattle


BERLIN – An artist in Berlin generated a virtual traffic jam using only a wagon and a stack of phones to show how we take data for granted without considering it could be manipulated.

According to Motherboard, an online tech news website Vice, Simon Wreckert managed to disrupt real traffic in Berlin, tampering with data using 99 Android phones. He rented the phones as well as 99 SIM cards, so that each one appeared as a unique user on Google Maps. He then put them in a small cart and walked a few streets at a leisurely pace around Berlin.

Because Google Maps considered phones to be 99 individual vehicles, it showed the street to be congested. Drivers using Google Maps users navigating the city saw a bold red line indicating the road was very congested, even though it was just Wreckert pulling his wagon of phones.

In the video, Weckert can be seen walking through almost empty streets pulling his cart full of phones. The video also shows the corresponding “congestion” it creates on Google Maps.

Wreckert noted that his action could divert traffic and cause serious traffic jams in other places.

“By carrying smartphones on the street, I am able to generate virtual traffic that will make cars navigate an alternate route. Ironically, this can create a real traffic jam elsewhere in the city. »Wreckert said Motherboard

According to Motherboard, the art installation revealed how data that most assume objective can in fact be biased.

“In this process, he emphasizes the fact that we are very focused on the data and try to see it as objective, unambiguous and uninterpreted. In doing so, a blindness arises against the processes generated by the data and the assumption that the numbers speak for themselves. Not only does data collection provide interpretive scope, but IT processes also allow other interpretations, ”Wreckert said. Motherboard.

The “Google Maps Hacks by Simon WeckertWas posted to YouTube on February 1 and already has over a million views.

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