The technology used to power OpenAI’s ChatGPT could permeate all aspects of our lives, as evidenced by companies like General Motors that plan to incorporate the technology into future vehicles. GM makes Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC cars and trucks, which could introduce the technology to many popular vehicles.
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Cars have become increasingly high-tech in recent years; Bluetooth connectivity, semi-autonomous driving, automatic braking, lane departure warning, collision warning, and 360-degree reverse cameras are now common features for modern vehicles.
And most of those technologies use artificial intelligence to automate the parts of driving that take the driver’s attention away from the road. But there are still some aspects of driving that remain as they were 30 years ago, like checking your owner’s manual or pushing the garage door opener.
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GM plans to use the technology behind ChatGPT to automate those things and make the smart car of the future feel like it’s not that far in the future. Last week, Semafor first reported that GM was working on a voice assistant based on the technology found in ChatGPT.
It’s important to note that ChatGPT won’t be on GM vehicles, but new cars will use similar language model technology to drive an artificial intelligence assistant. According to Semafor, the voice assistant will use Microsoft’s Azure cloud service, making the technology behind Dall-E, ChatGPT and Microsoft Bing available to GM.
GM hopes to use an artificial intelligence assistant to achieve a person-car relationship found only in science fiction movies. Advanced AI assistants have long been a goal for many car manufacturers, but it remained unachievable mainly because AI language technology was not sufficiently developed.
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Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allow drivers to connect their phones to their cars via USB-C or Lightning to USB cables. Some of the phone’s apps are then loaded onto the car’s entertainment center screen, where drivers can use the full capabilities of their phone’s calling, texting and navigation services without touching their phone.
But an in-car AI assistant can be conversational and more knowledgeable than a smartphone. For example, the driver may notice that his windshield wipers are no longer working properly. The driver might ask the car what size wiper blades your vehicle requires, and the car might even be able to tell you where you can find those wipers at.
Or, the driver may want to know how to turn on their automatic braking system. The car could then explain how the feature works, how to turn it on and off, and the best driving conditions to use that feature.
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But the biggest use of these AI assistants will be how they can make being on the road safer for everyone. According to the US Department of Transportation, 42,915 people were killed in car crashes in 2021. Can AI assistants be used to give drivers an impromptu refresher on traffic laws? Could they notify drivers that they are driving too fast or not allow the car to exceed the residential speed limit too much?
Perhaps the best thing an AI assistant can do for drivers is eliminate the need to take their eyes off the road. In-car entertainment center screens are becoming larger and more complete as new models emerge each year. But in-car voice assistants like Siri have limited capabilities in what they can do to free up the driver’s hands.
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Some drivers take their eyes off the road to adjust the temperature, pause a song, or close an app. And many car entertainment systems don’t offer haptic feedback, leaving the driver wondering if his finger pressed the right button and looking away from the road to check. Even for a second or two, distracted drivers can quickly become a danger to others.
If a driver can ask the AI assistant to set the driver’s side temperature to 70 degrees, pause a song or play a specific playlist, or stop the navigation system, the need for buttons on the driver’s entertainment system automobile could become obsolete.
A fully built-in automatic attendant could make interstates and intersections, the most common places for car accidents, safer. But can a car with a deep learning mind of its own infringe on driver autonomy and cause more damage? Could cyberattacks on car AI also present a significant risk?
Car manufacturers have a great responsibility to ensure that AI cheating does not inadvertently make the roads more dangerous.
The future is here. We are ready?