Boulder Daily Camera: In Google we trust, a bit too much


Just before dawn on the morning of Jan. 19, 2009, a Los Angeles woman named Lauren Rosenberg was hit by a car while crossing a four-lane highway in Park City, Utah. Last month, more than a year after the accident, she filed a lawsuit against Google, claiming that the route for her walk had been suggested by Google Maps. She`s asking for more than $100,000 in damages, in part to cover the hefty medical bills she says she incurred. … Véronique Bohbot, a professor of psychiatry at McGill University in Montreal, has done extensive research demonstrating the connection between the size of the hippocampus and the degree to which we employ our navigational skills. She worries that, should our hippocampi begin to atrophy from a lack of use in navigation, the result could be a loss of memory and a growing long-term risk of dementia. "Society is geared in many ways toward shrinking the hippocampus," she said in an interview with journalist Alex Hutchinson last year. "In the next twenty years, I think we`re going to see dementia occurring earlier and earlier." That`s still speculation. Bohbot`s fear may well turn out to be groundless. But it`s something to keep in mind the next time that pleasant, computer-generated voice tells you to take a left.