‘We live in the age of smart things. Smartphones, smart motorways, smart homes, smart meters, ‘smart’ cars, smart TVs. And yet, have you noticed how almost anything that carries the prefix ‘smart’ somehow ends up being anything but?
Take so-called smart motorways. Stupidest idea since diet water. Quite where it came from is unclear, but the fact remains that a few years ago all the motorways that used to work perfectly OK — give or take the odd traffic jam — started becoming nigh on impassable.
With no discernible warning or obvious justification, some satanic sub-department of Highways England decided that all our dim-witted old motorways had to be upgraded to shiny new ‘smart’ ones. Meaning that all of a sudden a journey that might have taken an hour took at least twice that because of all the roadworks.
And when they were finished, the new smart motorways had no hard shoulders, meaning broken-down cars had nowhere safe to wait; 38 people have been killed on smart motorways in the past five years.
No one bothered to ask us, the motorists, what we thought of this idea, probably because it would have been met with a resounding boot.
But dumb motorways are typical of all this new smartness that seems to be coming our way. Typical in that they render a tried-and-tested system stupidly complex for no other purpose than to make the lives of nosy government departments and big business easier.’