Bret Greenstein, the vice president of IBM Watson internet of things platform, stated that people would eventually learn to love the autonomous car. He added that it would be as a result of how cars would listen, resulting in people forming relationships with them. This was when he was speaking at UPSHIFT in 2016.
Greenstein began the discussion by speaking of his first car which was a 1960s Oldsmobile with classic car tropes that he would fix with a screwdriver and duct tape and he would know the cars needs from listening to it. Autonomous cars were therefore based on the reversal of tasks whereby a car would listen and know what its passenger needed.
Greenstein used an example of IBM’s collaboration with Local Motors (LM) on a project involving motor vehicles. IBM added Watson, the artificial intelligence system to LM’s autonomous bus, Olli. This bus shuttles passengers around while they tell Olli where they want to go thanks to Watson. Passengers would alight from Olli smiling, which was a non-occurrence in a scenario of traditional buses.
The novelty was not only as a result of riding an autonomous bus but because one would interact with it. This brought out things like Siri and old versions of Ford sync that people could talk with and how frustrating their interfaces were proven to be during use. Goldstein added that the issue with those systems was a lack of depth and recognition. Through the Driving Assistance package, Mercedes-Benz has also put a lot of research in autonomous driving. The DRIVE PILOT has a lot of insights into futuristic autonomous driving functions of its system which is already being tried in the 2016 E-Class model in Nevada.
Watson solves the above challenges with a variety of capabilities like an ability to learn patterns and preferences. In an autonomous bus application, Watson asked about the music someone selected to listen to and would recognize when the person is going to work and then pre-load driving instructions which included the person’s preferred music. This was given with an example of Watson’s ability to warn a person when an ex they did not wish to meet was about to get on the bus.
For recognition, Greenstein noted a Watson program at Thomas Jefferson University hospital in the Philadelphia area. IBM added Watson to the patient’s room to let them talk to it and adjust lighting and conditions and call specific doctors.
Most people, despite its obvious efficiency, were still reluctant to use it in the beginning but when the recognition hit a high of 90%, they seemed to slowly embrace and enjoy the system.
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