Somewhere in deep space or in California, which I guess is the same thing, William Shatner is channeling Gene Roddenberry’s spirit and laughing, saying to himself “I told you so” in between filming commercials for bran cereals and Priceline.com. So often is the case when we use Star Trek references all over the globe, geek and non-geek alike, to deal with the world around us.
We have all dreamed that we can could speak to our computers just like they did on Star Trek and say things like “Computer, pay my bills so I don’t have to look at state of my bank account.” Or the more popular, “Computer, make me a strong coffee and kill my boss.” Or my personal favorite “Computer, call in sick for me today so I can stay home and watch Bugs Bunny and read car magazines.”
You see, Gene Roddenberry knew that one day we’d all be talking to our computers to get them to do stuff for us, just like on Star Trek. He knew that one day the man-machine interface would be reality and we’d sync up with our computers to form a client-server kind of relationship. That day has arrived as we can now utter commands to our cars to get them to do stuff like dial the phone, set the temperature or look up a destination.
I just read on CNET that Ford’s next gen of Sync will allow people to talk to their cars more easily, using more natural human language. But if I know Ford, the ads they will use to market this will largely be off the mark and tame. They should take a radical approach and sell this technology in a much more parent-friendly way. My way, for example.
My idea would be something like a family driving in the SUV/crossover with the kids making noise, going mental, or vomiting, and then you see suburban dad and mom about to lose it and burst blood vessels in their brains. Then dad calmly hits the Sync button, the kids all stop and stare while dad says “Computer, find the nearest military school and enroll my children there for the next 12 semesters.” Watch your kids shut up in a hurry. Or how about this: “Computer, my children are going mental. Please cinch their seatbelts just tight enough across their chests to restrict oxygen flow to make them dopey.”
Perhaps if they advertised Ford’s Sync as being able to offer you options to neutralize other people on the road, you might be very inclined to buy a Ford. How appealing would it be if you could say “Sync, choose an appropriate mode of death for that butt-head driving across two lanes.” Or “Sync, please take my blood pressure and adjust my meds while I am stuck in traffic to insure that I don’t have a seizure or kill the jerk next to me on his cell phone gesticulating with hands like an Italian at a brothel.”
Are you telling me every consumer on the planet wouldn’t want a Ford if it could do that?
Check out the link to the CNET story below and the Ford and Star Trek videos.