My car’s (2013 Subaru Outback in this case) nav  system has an annoying habit of trying to “help” by giving directions based on gas stations. To give a concrete example I was heading west on NE Market Street it wanted me to turn left onto NE 15th Ave.

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“Turn left after the gas station.”

I saw a Safeway to my left and random stuff to my right. Should I look left or right?

I turned left since it typically tells me when I’m at the street. It turns out I turned onto 14th Ave. This was wholly my fault, but telling me to turn onto 15th Ave — a main street from local knowledge — would be infinitely more helpful.

The other problem is that a quarter of the time the gas station it’s talking about isn’t even there any more. “Turn right after the lot that used to be the gas station” is what it’s saying.

This is a case of trying to be too helpful. Someone had a brainstorming session and this came up I’m sure. “Let’s try to sound more human” I’m sure was what was spoken in the meeting.

Of course we’re all talking about a computer. I has certain expectations of a computer. It doesn’t have to try to be human.

I wish there was some way to turn off some of the infernal options and “features” of the thing.