There’s nothing like having a competent navigator, DJ, and conversationalist on a long drive. And perhaps a virtual copilot could be even better than the usual one who, let’s face it, often gets directions wrong or neglects his or her duties by falling asleep.
We’ll soon find out. General Motors says a number of its 2013 models will be compatible with Apple’s wise-cracking, know-it-all virtual assistant, Siri. In the Chevrolet Spark or the Sonic LTZ or RS, you’ll be able to connect to an iPhone and then use Siri’s Eyes Free mode without ever glancing away from the road. Siri will find directions, look up information online, send e-mails, and the rest.
Voice-control is already becoming common in many vehicles, and GM is one of several carmakers that had previously announced that it planned to integrate Siri into its vehicles.
This Thanksgiving, I rented a Ford Taurus for the drive from Boston to New York—and I had the chance to try out the voice controlled SYNC system. After syncing with my phone, I found it pretty easy to switch radio stations or make a phone call with a few spoken commands. But the system also suffered from some annoying quirks, particularly the need to stick to certain preset phrases. Siri could perhaps offer drivers a more sophisticated, and less annoying, kind of voice control (see “Social Intelligence”).
I have a question though. Will in-car voice control really be less distracting when virtual navigator can do so much more: everything from checking your calendar to sending out snarky tweets about fellow drivers? Siri might answer that, too, in time.
Here’s a video of the Chevrolet Spark with Siri:
This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting
With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.
VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence
On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.
This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine
Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.
This artist is dominating AI-generated art. And he’s not happy about it.
Greg Rutkowski is a more popular prompt than Picasso.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.