Naga Chokkanathan

Why Not? — Control

Posted on: April 5, 2011

Couple of days back, I was travelling in a taxi. The roads were practically empty and the driver was speeding at 80+ kmph.

Suddenly, a voice came out of nowhere ‘Danger, Danger, You are exceeding the speed limit. Please slow down immediately.’

When the driver heard this, he slowed down religiously and started driving at a more humane, safer speed.

This sage-like-behavior lasted exactly seven minutes, after which his adrenalin took over. He started touching 80+ again.

Once more, the same voice came back, in a pleasant tone, it announced ‘You are exceeding the speed limit. Please slow down immediately.’

This happened four or five times. The driver always obeyed the ‘voice’, But went back to 80+ within next few minutes. I asked him why. ‘This is kind of scary, when your car reminds you to slow down, why don’t you obey?’

He said ‘It’s not my car, But my company!’

‘What do you mean?’

‘This voice comes from the computer installed in this car. It tracks the speed in which I drive and if I exceed the safe limits, it warns me, So I have to slow down immediately. If I don’t slow down within 30 seconds, it will send a SMS to my manager and I may lose my job!’

‘Okay. That’s Good, But then, why do you over-speed again?’

‘We found that the computer forgets and forgives you the moment you slow down and go below the safe limit. After that I can over-speed again, My manager will never know!’

This is what happens when we depend on machine-supervision too much. People always find ways to get around it. Instead if the discipline gets into their brain, there is no ‘voice’ required to tell them when they over-step, they do self-check and self-correction.

Any day, A company with a safe-driving culture is better than a company which installs latest computers to track their driver’s discipline!



N. Chokkan …

05 04 2011


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