Friday, May 11, 2012

Travels with our satnav

Yesterday was busy. Leaving from Alex's flat in Reading I drove to the first client in Watford, then to my second meeting in Brentford near the elevated section of the M4 at its London end, before finally driving home in the wind and rain.

I guess I could have played safe travelling between meetings 1 and 2 by zooming around the M25. But trusting the voice of Yoda on my Gamin satnav (and of course, The Force) I was safely conveyed down the M1 and round the North Circular. As a bonus I got a passable lunch at the M1's London Gateway services.

The satnav creates a curious sense of company, and its expertise and understanding when you go wrong induces in the driver a sense of childlike trust. It's a strange subliminal psychological effect.

Note to Google: the same psychology should apply to a synthetic companion. A sympathetic voice from a small Yoda doll parked on the sofa, with a WiFi connection to Google News and the Daily Mail's online site should generate an endless source of reassuring gossip. Truly ELIZA brought up to date.

For a modest capital investment, the market for "small-talk Yoda" and all its variants would be worth billions. And I give the idea away!