Monday, July 26, 2004

Talk About Distracted Driving...

From the New York Times (link requires registration):

News that Toyota inventors now have a patent on a car that can show feelings.

Great. Just what America needs... a car that will offend other drivers while being about as safe to drive as someone driving while operating a computer. Think of it as a macro-cell phone.

Can you just see it? You're driving along a crowded LA freeway, minding your own business, when all of a sudden you see a car full of gang colors cut in front of a guy with a new Toyota. The Toyota dredges up its program for expressing anger and frowns at the gangsters as only, I'm sure, a Toyota can. The gangsters -- who are known, after all, for their ability to freely express themselves -- decide to reward the owner of this new Toyota by pulling alongside and expressing a few rounds into the driver's seat.

While we're imagining this scenario, don't forget about the eternal struggle to ward off those who will ultimately need to take their eyes off the road long enough to diddle with the controls and create just the right expression for the occasion. It's one thing, for example, to make eyes at an attractive motorist in the car that just passed you. It's another thing altogether to do that to the cop who just got in front of you and might take umbrage at the frowny face that appeared when you really meant to show a happy face by way of support. Ultimately he'll get the joke, right after he issues a citation for smashing into his black-and-white while trying to get the car's face right.

And you just know it's a question of time before the geeks at Cal Tech or MIT come up with even more creative ways for your Toyota to express itself. Yeah, let's let those truck drivers know what you really think about them!

Just let me know where to send the flowers.


Anonymous said...

I know Dave Barry's all tied up in the big porta-john convention in Boston, but this seems like the kind of thing he needs to be alerted to.

Says the anonymous Baby Sis.

Anonymous said...

The only emotions I can imagine that you would possibly want to express on a freeway could be done more cheaply and easily with one finger. And if I'm stuck in a traffic jam and someone's car is smirking at me it would cause an immediate negative emotional reaction. I could handle a weepy car-face in a funeral cortege but I wouldn't make my car frown back unless they got in my way. Ma

Anonymous said...

Heck, I couldn't get past the "Link requires registration (w/ the NYT)" caveat. That alone evokes emotions!


Woody said...

And who in heck wants to register with the NYT?? The ONLY reason I ever did was to get certain science articles that didn't seem to appear anywhere else. Promise!

Woody said...
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