As if the countless Transformers movies or James Cameron’s series surrounding this eerie topic weren’t warning enough, Mecedes-Benz is bringing ChatGPT voice controls to its cars. The AI chatbot has slowly wended its way into every nook and cranny of our lives; our PCs, smartphones, news, film, and finally, motor vehicles. At least it’s not our vehicles. Not yet. Mercedes’ first test is limited to the US, though we don’t expect that to remain the case forever.
The idea, obviously, is to improve the brand’s current ‘Hey Mercedes’ assistant, or as Mercedes puts it; make it “even more intuitive.” The company just released a beta for ChatGPT’s integration into the system. It’s coming to the US for cars with an MBUX infotainment system installed. This comprises around a million vehicles so far.
Installing the update is as simple as telling your car you want in, which, we won’t lie, is pretty cool. There’s also the option to forego the sense of talking to your car like the Hoff in Knight Rider and launching the update through Mercedes’ dedicated ‘me’ app.
While Mercedes’ own voice assistant already does plenty, ChatGPT’s integration is meant to, and will “greatly improve natural language understanding and expand the topics to which it can respond,” according to the announcement. It added, “Soon, participants who ask the Voice Assistant for details about their destination, to suggest a new dinner recipe, or to answer a complex question, will receive a more comprehensive answer.”
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As for where your voice goes once it’s run through the AI, Mercedes says it will be stored in the company’s ‘Intelligent Cloud’, where it’s analysed without a name attached to it. That’s the company’s stance on the subject, anyway.
We expect that Mercedes won’t be the last to implement something similar. As we speak, we’re imagining every corporate higher-up flooding Microsoft’s phone lines with requests to bring ChatGPT into their vehicles. With the growth we’ve seen from the less-than-omniscient AI in the past year, we expect it won’t be long before South Africa gets a taste.