You forgot to use your turn signal again, Dave

As my wife will be quick to tell you, I can occasionally get a little paranoid when it comes to modern digital technology. I don’t like being tracked. I don’t like how cameras are everywhere and always turned on. I don’t like anything that even carries a whiff of 1984. As such, the Intelligent Personal Assistant in the new 2020 BMW 7 Series makes me nervous. However, at the same time, the geek in me thinks it’s pretty damn cool.

Call Me Crazy, But Something Just Ain’t Right Here

First, let’s talk about what the BMW Digital Assistant can do and how it works.

Think of it as an advanced voice control function with a learning capability.

Much like other digital assistants (Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa), passengers and drivers can activate the command function with a vocal prompt, specifically the phrase “Hey BMW.”

From there, users have a variety of options and functions to choose from. For example, BMW says you can say “take me home,” and the navigation will automatically reroute you to your primary place of residence. Or you could say “Hey BMW, I’m cold,” and the system will automatically adjust the temperature, or you could say “Hey BMW, I’m tired” and the system will adjust the onboard lighting and stereo settings to perk you up a bit.

What’s more, BMW says the Personal Assistant will be able to discern your individual “routines and habits.”

This includes preferences for comfort features like the climate control and seat heating, as well as places you go and when you like to go there.

The system can also provide info on how certain onboard systems work and various vehicle parameters, as well as real-time connected info on traffic conditions, food options, and the like.

The 2020 BMW 7 Series Intelligent Personal Assistant Is Equal Parts Creepy and Cool Interior
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What’s more, the BMW Digital Assistant can even provide “casual conversation,” and you can “name” your assistant if you want, giving it more a personalized touch. BMW didn’t go into detail on this, but we think it’s most likely in line with other digital assistants out there in terms of capability.

Finally, if you’re not in the mood to talk to the Digital Assistant, there’s also a Gesture Control feature through the Mobileye interior camera.

Why I’m Worried

The 2020 BMW 7 Series Intelligent Personal Assistant Is Equal Parts Creepy and Cool
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Okay, so I’m most likely just being paranoid here. I’ll admit it. Regardless, I don’t like the idea of some digital system taking notes on where I go, what I do, and how I drive. And I really don’t like an unblinking eyeball watching my every move, waiting for some combination of gestures to jump into action.

“The assistant gets better and better with every command given, every question asked and every setting made,” BMW explains. Fine. But beyond the obvious creepiness factor, there’s a security issue here as well.

Like all connected systems, the Digital Assistant can most likely be hacked, which means malicious parties will also have access to the information the system has learned.

And while that kind of thing might really only be important for VIPs and folks in positions of wealth or power (for example, kidnapping and ransom targets), it’s still worthy of consideration for all buyers.

It’s Still Pretty Cool Though

The 2020 BMW 7 Series Intelligent Personal Assistant Is Equal Parts Creepy and Cool
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As most nerds will tell you, artificial intelligence is on the rise. I know that eventually, systems like the BMW Digital Assistant will feel as natural as any other part of modern society.

And honestly, a lot of this is pretty cool. Yeah, it’s weird and creepy, but the idea of a robotic butler catering to my every whim is also kinda exciting.

What do you think? Do you want more features like the BMW Digital Assistant, or would you prefer to keep it a little more old school? Let us know in the comments section below.

Further Reading

2020 BMW 7 Series Exterior
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There’s More to the 2020 BMW 7 Series Than that Massive Grille

2020 BMW 7 Series Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2020 BMW 7 Series.

2016 BMW 7 Series High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 BMW 7 Series.

2014 BMW Vision Future Luxury Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2014 BMW Vision Future Luxury.

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