Saturday, January 6, 2018

New Cars To Read Driver's Minds

             Nissan claims to have developed a new car that can read its driver’s mind.

 Is this really a good thing? What will our wives do? The company says software from the medical profession is being used to translate a driver’s thoughts into action to improve vehicle responsiveness.  The software monitors brain wave activity to anticipate intended movement, such as hitting the brakes or turning the steering wheel, shaving between two-tenths of a second and one-half of a second off the driver’s normal reaction time. The technology will be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas from January 9th through January 12th.
Nissan vice-president Daniele Schillaci stated: “When most people think about autonomous driving, they have a very impersonal vision of the future, where humans relinquish control to the machines. Yet B2V technology does the opposite, by using signals from their own brain to make the drive even more exciting and enjoyable.” Schillaci claims the brain-to-vehicle (B2V) innovation takes technology to the next level. Dr. Lucian Gheorghe, senior innovation researcher at the Nissan Research Center in Japan, who heads up the B2V program, sees other potential uses for the technology. For example, he says the technology can use “augmented reality” to adjust what the driver sees and create a more relaxing environment. “Augmented reality?” Isn’t this why people drink and smoke pot? Do we really want to “adjust” what the driver sees? Shouldn’t he or she be seeing what’s actually out there, not what makes him or her more relaxed?
I don’t know about you, but if B2V translates my thoughts into action, the car may continually be veering off towards a cute brunette sauntering down the sidewalk. None of us should want that.  Or it may constantly head to the nearest boat launch or liquor store.
How does B2V know which thoughts to translate into speedy action? Everyone’s stream-of-consciousness thinking is rapid and disjointed. What is my future Nissan ESP going to do when I’m driving down the road, perhaps a bit bored, thinking: “Man, I’m thirsty!...Hillary should just go away already!...I can’t wait to see ‘Darkest Hour’…I think my pants are too snug, need to tug on them a bit just there…wonder what’s for dinner…gotta take a leak…squirrel!...wife wanted me to pick something up on the way home, what was it and where should I go to get it?...I really miss ‘Cheers’…that’s one ugly vehicle!...did I miss my turn?...I know I could be a great president…?”
            What will we find at the intersection of our (random) thoughts and artificial intelligence’s ability to read and react to them?
            Probably a 20-car pile-up.


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