To me, someone who frequently gets lost, those GPS navigation systems are a greater technology than the internet. I am amazed not only at the satellite positioning and the computerized maps, but at how the directions are articulated vocally. Our portable system lets us pick out the accent we want, no less. So, in honor of our Australian son-in-law, we picked an Australian accent. The system calls the voice “Karen,” so we have started to call our GPS device by that name. (“Did you put Karen in the car?” “Let’s ask Karen where the nearest BBQ joint is.”)
I learned in this article that there really is a human being who records all of those directions. “Karen” is an Australian singer named Karen Jacobson. Here she is:
Does anyone know how these navbots coordinate the voices with the directions? Does a Karen Jacobson just read thousands and thousands of street names, which are then put together into a sentence with computerized intonation? How is that done? I stand amazed, and I will stay amazed even if I learn how it works.