Now that people can talk to their cars, demanding Elvis Costello or where to turn left, I say it's time for the Passenger Psychiatrist. You know, someone to have a conversation with who's really interested in you and what you think and what your problems are. I think drivers without passengers would turn off their radios and unplug their iPods in order to have an intelligent conversation with their car. They'd end up saying things they never say to real people who would be bored silly.
"Where you going?"
"That's General Dynamics?"
"Take the next left."
"God damn it."
"I'm really pissed off."
"Why are you pissed off?"
"I hate my family."
"Tell me more about your family."
Nobody ever says "Tell me more about your family." Only your psychiatrist and your car.
There's already a basic computer psychiatrist program, only 200 lines of code, called Eliza that only works in print. There's even a sarcastic version. Make it talk, add vocal recognition and a shitload more conversational possibilities, and you're off and running. Make RECORD the default mode and people will say to each other, "Man, you gotta hear this talk I had with my Toyota yesterday. It really gets where I'm coming from." They'll sell Fords that include Dr. Phil as your default passenger. The worse the traffic, the longer it takes to get to your destination, the more mentally healthy you'll be when you arrive. You'll work out that problem you've always had because of something your mother said to you when you were three. Buy a Prius and get Ed Begley Jr. as your constant companion. Buy a Hummer and get Dr. Ruth.
Big legal questions in the future. Can your car testify against you in court and can getaway vehicles be arrested for aiding and abetting?
This is some complicate shit. I say cars get legal immunity, just like a real psychiatrist. That way the Tony Sopranos of the world won't have to worry about confessing who they wacked, unless someone else is in the car, in which case, what the fuck, wack 'em. Believe me, there's gonna be big money to be made in defending VW buses for distributing mushrooms.
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