Would You Converse With Your Autonomous Car?

Would you be willing to engage in a conversation with your car? And I'm not just wondering if you'd talk back to your car's GPS - we all do that. This is a new idea. Japanese tech company SoftBank and Honda Motors want to use artificial intelligence in vehicles to actively converse with drivers.

Their goal is to create a kind of friendship between a driver and his or her vehicle.The companies will collaborate on AI software that analyzes a driver's speech and, through cameras and sensors, interpret a driver's emotions.

Honda said in a press release Opens a New Window. that the AI will use conversations with the driver and other data it gathers "both to perceive the emotions of the driver and to engage in dialogue with the driver based on the vehicle's own emotions." The just-announced partnership works toward application of the "emotion engine," which is "a set of AI technologies developed by cocoro SB Corp., which enable machines to artificially generate their own emotions."

The automaker says that allowing the vehicle to converse with the driver about shared experiences (perhaps sitting in traffic for hours together?) will eventually help drivers form anemotional attachment with the vehicle.

Of course, the classic example of this kind of relationship would be that between Luke Skywalker and his faithful droid R2-D2.


(R2-D2 helps Luke Skywalker)

Douglas Adams would, I'm sure, recommend nothing less than Genuine People Personalities (GPP) for all vehicles.

“Listen,” said Ford, who was still engrossed in the sales brochure, “they make a big thing of the ship's cybernetics. A new generation of Sirius Cybernetics Corporation robots and computers, with the new GPP feature.” “GPP feature?” said Arthur. “What's that?”

“Oh, it says Genuine People Personalities.”

“Oh,” said Arthur, “sounds ghastly.”

A voice behind them said, “It is.” The voice was low and hopeless and accompanied by a slight clanking sound. They span round and saw an abject steel man standing hunched in the doorway...

“Ghastly,” continued Marvin, “it all is. Absolutely ghastly. Just don't even talk about it. Look at this door,” he said, stepping through it. The irony circuits cut into his voice modulator as he mimicked the style of the sales brochure. “All the doors in this spaceship have a cheerful and sunny disposition. It is their pleasure to open for you, and their satisfaction to close again with the knowledge of a job well done.”

I'd also mention that you might have to make some choices about the personality of your car's AI. For example, consider this exchange between a passenger and Philip K. Dick's robot cab driver:

"Robots have no wives," the driver said. "They are nonsexual. Robots have no friends, either. They are incapable of emotional relationships."

"Can robots be fired?"

"Sometimes." The robot drew his cab up before Eric's modest six-room bungalow. "But consider. Robots are frequently melted down and new robots made from the remains. Recall Ibsen's Peer Gynt, the section concerning the Button Molder. The lines clearly anticipate in symbolic form the trauma of robots to come."

"Yeah." The door opened and Eric got out. "I guess we all have our problems."

"Robots have worse problems than anybody." The door shut and the cab zipped off, back down the hill.

Via a thoughtful article at Fox Business - with a business opportunity, futurists!

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