Next OnStar System to Use IBM Artificial Intelligence to Annoy Drivers with Targeted Offers and Services
Is it General Motors or Government Motors – the brand to track your every movement, purchase, and communication?by Robert Moore, on
GM’s OnStar system is evolving and the latest iteration, dubbed OnStar Go, is set to make it into 2017 model year vehicles. The system will build upon the services already available in today’s models, including features like diagnostics, security monitoring, hands-free calling, and navigation services, among others. But, OnStar Go will also utilize IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence technology to “optimize the driver’s time in the vehicle.” What that really means is that GM and IBM have partnered up to bring targeted offers and services to anyone who owns a GM vehicle.
These “targeted offers and services” will be available at no charge as part of the free and basic five-year OnStar plan included with the purchase of every new vehicle that is properly equipped and has a 4G wireless connection. So far, these customized offers will come from companies like Exxon Mobil, iHeartRadio, Glympse, Parkopedia, and Mastercard. GM and IBM will reportedly share revenue generated from these offers with the aforementioned partners. The offers presented to drivers will be tailored to them based on their habits, location, and other factors like current weather conditions.
“IBM and GM are changing the whole notion of where valuable, daily rituals occur. The combination of IBM Watson and industry-leading OnStar connectivity will enable vehicles with intelligent branded skills and services to empower drivers and passengers,” said Paul Papas, Global Leader, IBM iX. “Simply put, OnStar Go with IBM Watson transforms time wasted in the car into time well spent.”
As an example of how the system will work, if the vehicle is running low on fuel, the system will recognize this and locate the nearest Exxon Mobil gas station. It will then, make it make it on the navigation screen and direct drivers in the proper direction. Apparently, users will also be able to make authorized payments from inside the vehicle has well.
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I want to touch base on the fact that GM and IBM believe this system will make life more enjoyable, safe, and convenient. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that we already have enough ads shoved down our throats everywhere we look, and it appears that this system will make that even worse. More enjoyable? I am extremely doubtful. Think about the way ads are targeted to us on the internet and mobile apps. You do a basic search for Xbox One, and you even purchase one. For the next month, you see ads that are “targeted to your interest” trying to convince you to buy an Xbox One. It’s pointless.
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that ad-blocking software is has become pretty common to help stop unwanted ads from coming across our computer screens. Will this On Star system turn into something just as bad as online targeted advertising, television ads, mobile app ads, or radio ads? Will it get worse? Next thing you know your Chevy Cruze of GMC Yukon is going to tell you where to go for fuel, food, service, and who knows what else. You’ll probably even be greeted with pop-up ads on your infotainment display every time you change the radio station or start the car. Hopefully, GM and IBM will be kind enough to give users a way to opt-out of targeted offers and services. If not, someone might be able to make a lot of money if they can figure out how to disable OnStar on newer vehicles.