An artist decided to trick the technology system and “hacked” Google Maps’ traffic display.
Simon Weckert, from Germany, walked through the streets of Berlin with 99 smartphones all connected to the Google app for driving directions.
Wherever the smartphones went, Google Maps showed a traffic jam and displayed a red line and routing Maps users around the area. The video was uploaded to YouTube and it shows the artist is dragging a cart of smartphones through the country’s capital.
On his website, Simon wrote that the interactive mapping service had ‘fundamentally changed our understanding of what a map is.
’ He also said the application had ”established a position for itself’ by interacting with other apps such as Airbnb and deliveroo, thereby creating a new form of ‘digital capitalism.’
He wrote: ‘With its Geo Tools, Google has created a platform that allows users and businesses to interact with maps in a novel way. This means that questions relating to power in the discourse of cartography have to be reformulated.
‘But what is the relationship between the art of enabling and techniques of supervision, control and regulation in Google’s maps?
‘Do these maps function as dispositive nets that determine the behavior, opinions and images of living beings, exercising power and controlling knowledge?’
Simon took Twitter to share his video with his followers in a post which read: ’99 smartphones are transported in a handcart to generate virtual traffic jam in Google Maps. Through this activity, it is possible to turn a green street red which has an impact in the physical world by navigating cars on another route! #googlemapshacks.’
In an email to Business Insider, Simon said: “Maps have the potential as an instrument of power for some intentions.
They substitute political and military power.We are highly focused on [apps like Google Maps’] data and tend to see them as objective … Thus data are viewed as the world itself, forgetting that the numbers are only representing a model of the world.
“Whether via cart or camel, we love seeing creative uses of Google Map as it helps us make maps work better over time,” a Google spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement.
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