A few weeks ago I changed Siri to Australian. It wouldn’t recognize my simple commands, like to call someone. If I asked Siri to “call Mark,” it wouldn’t understand, so I had to say, “Coll Mahk.” And Siri would coll Mahk. It was fun while it lasted, until one of my students caught me speaking in a terrible Australian accent on my phone and didn’t understand what I was doing. She was from Mexico, and as she looked at my quizzically, I said, “Nevahmiynd.”
But right after I did that, I saw this gem, posted above, through James Bridle’s Tumblr, The New Aesthetic. The sign reminds foreign users how to pronounce Leicester Square on their smart phones, lest they completely miss how to find proper directions via Google Maps or Siri or Android, or Google Voice, or whatever. Or one could simply ask a local, like visitors have been doing for hundreds of years. Or do we want to stay self-contained within our own devices? My next test will be to visit a European country with Siri set on Australian and see how lost I can get and when my battery dies, I’m throwing the phone into a stream.