If you someone were to guess your top 6 interests as an English Speaker in Spain and they included Crime, Tax Evasion and Cruises how would that make you feel?
A few days ago I installed on my phone a new app. It is called Prismatic. It claims to be able to find posts, web sites, articles of interest that are particularly relevant to me and deliver them to my phone every day. Ive tried a few similar apps like this before…Zite for example, and they generally act pretty well, if a little limited in scope.
Stereotypes from Where?
To register with prismatic, you must give a few details about yourself, the first being where I lived and what language I wanted the articles delivered in. As I live in Spain and my first language is English, I gave these details to the app. I was then presented with my first list of subjects that the developers (or their algorithm) had selected for me…subjects they assumed I would be naturally interested in. Take a look at the photo above (a screenshot I took in disbelief at that moment) and see if any of the categories fit your interests.
Spain….yup…Well done! But as I live here, it was something of a safe guess.
Portugal…well, its next door I suppose.
Tax Evasion…hmmm. This is beginning to sound a little dodgy.
Great Britain…well, Ive said that I am an English Speaker, but why assume I´m British?
Curises….What? Have I said I´m retired and sitting on a suitcase full of disposable cash?
Crime…OK! Thats enough….this is getting offensive.
So lets recap here a moment. In the eyes of the app developers, If I am English speaking and live in Spain, there is a high probability that I´ll be from Britain, have more than a passing interest in defrauding the state, spending my presumably illegally acquired income on cruises whilst keeping up with the global crime scene.
Well, that pretty well summons up the stereotype of the Brit abroad I suppose. Only, I thought this only existed in UK tabloids during the 1970's? Yet the apps developers are from San Francisco - so is this the standard stereotype that they have of Brits abroad? Maybe Im being a little harsh. Then again, maybe its just another example of ignorance, parochialism and the perpetration of stereotypes from this once-more-complacent country over the pond. Oops….isn't that a stereotype?
So do you have a smartphone? Give it a go. Download the app and see what racial stereotypes will be thrown at you? Muslim and living in London? Maybe you would be interested in Knocked off Weapons and Semtex?
African and living in Andalusia? How about illegal boat trips across the straits, a DVD burner or work prospects in the Plastic Greenhouses of Almeria?
Anyway, whats the app like? Well, not bad really. Its gradually producing some more interesting stuff and of course over time, again like ZITE - it learns more and more of your real interests and less and less of the developers projections. Let me know how it was for you?
Interested in more Apps for an Easy life Abroad? You may like this too.
Why Orwell is essential to understanding Spain today. More here - Forgotten Stories From Spain
Find out More about the ebook and audio
Forgotten Stories From Spain Book HERE
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