"Look Dave, I can see you're really upset about this."
February 17, 2008 1:39 PM Subscribe
How difficult would it be to either build a GPS with a little bit of a personality, who is disappointed with you when you make wrong turns, or to mod existing GPS units to have a hint of a personality?
posted by onlyconnect to Technology (32 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I've been thinking about this for a while and I'm convinced that lots of people, especially young urban hipsters, would pay an extra $100 to $200 if their GPS unit would express more disappointment or distress after wrong turns or other mild disasters. I already sort of imagine that ours does this when it says "recalculating" after a few wrong turns, even though I know it's not really, and I really think I would be delighted if my GPS unit would occasionally take me to task for having no discernable sense of direction. I am imagining something a little like the depressed Marvin the android in The Hitchhiker's Guide series, or HAL in 2001 (though obviously without the actual capability of taking over and killing everyone), or maybe even like GLaDOS in Portal. Or maybe different people would want different personalities (my preferences may be influenced by leftover Catholic guilt), the point is that the GPS unit would actually react in some way to the turns you made or the way you were driving.
In any case, the point is, how hard would it be to sort of mesh GPS technology with something like videogame technology where your different decisions cause varying reactions from a computer that could, in some sense, be thought of as a "personality"? Could it be done, how expensive would it be to do (and mass produce), would a GPS unit that did this necessarily be MUCH less portable than what's available now, and can you see any problems that would make such a device necessarily unpractical or unuseable? And would you need to develop a whole separate device altogether, or might it be possible to just develop a sort of personality microchip that could be inserted into different existing GPS units (Garmin, Tom Tom, etc)? And maybe also, if you currently have a regular GPS unit, would you pay more for a GPS with a little personality?
Thanks in advance!