Flying cars. Humanizing autonomy. Self-driving cars that are created to improve society by reducing accidents. Freeing up space in our cities and even preventing terrorist attacks that involve vehicles. These and many more topics were covered during this year’s talks at SXSW. However fresh and exciting this may sound, it wasn’t without the arising of a couple of new concerns as well.
For example, will this produce a new auto-centric future that is more sprawling, less healthy and just as congested? And how do we make sure that the future of mobility is truly a better one? Also, how will autonomous cars be controlled?
During SXSW’s interactive sessions within the mobility field, the main focus in the general scope of things was about how we can introduce emotional intelligence to the AI in our machines. The aim here seemed to be to create a more pleasant and, not to mention safer, future. In this report we’ll focus on the session called The Emotional Life of Your Autonomous Car with Pamela Pavliscak (Change Sciences).
The relationship we have with our cars is emotional. And it's about to get even more so. We name our cars and we talk to our cars, much in the same way as we do with humans. With the convergence of affective technology and artificial intelligence, emotional interactions with our vehicles will become the norm. Concept cars can already understand and adapt to our emotions. The speaker Pamela Pavliscak talked about current examples of emotional AI, how a car with a higher EQ could both help and harm, and how a framework for inventing an emotionally intelligent future could look like.
The aim with the session was to explore how we humans have a will to make our robots more humanized, and how we can get the machines to be more emotionally attached to us. Even though safety with the technology is highly prioritized, the latest trends focus more on the emotional links between man and machine.
How might we design emotionally intelligent mobility?
So, when considering the future car, we imagine it to be autonomous. It might even fly and you will not need a parking spot since the car will just pick you up and leave you off wherever you please. However, these things aren’t strictly “new” news, so to speak. We’ve actually been hearing this for several years now.
The main focus right now, however, is to create cars with such levels of emotional intelligence that they can be our companions, friends and therapists. It’s about getting the cars to understand, communicate and interact with us – and to make the car relate to how we actually feel. 41% say they talk to their car, 37% of voice assistant users wish it was a real person. We have a wish to be able to have a conversation in the car, even if we’re alone.
But we can’t believe that making our “future cars” autonomous and environmentally friendly will have a big impact in the new era. We need to make them attractive to us. How the cars look is a key factor for people buying cars. They want to be able to identify with the cars as if it was an accessory. People want to have a car to spend time in. Someplace they can communicate and where they can get the feeling of sitting in a living room together with one’s friends.
27% of people between ages 18-24 said they would want to form a relationship with a robot. A way to read emotions are with attributes such as eyes, gestures, voices and movements. Humans can let us down, so when it comes to cars, we study the same facial expressions and translate them into the design of our cars. One of the most obvious examples of this is the fact that a car’s headlights are shaped after the human eyes.
The rise of AI seems unstoppable.
Japanese auto brand Toyota's latest concept car is equipped with an artificial intelligence system that picks up on the habits and emotions of the driver. The more you drive the car, the more they get to know you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDEivqEB1qM
“2022 – machine will know more about our emotions than we do”