Recently, our own Stef Schrader opined that gas station TV needs to die. This is correct. I’ll argue that even worse is the video that plays on a loop when you’re in a New York City cab. Unfortunately, that may presage the future as cars become more autonomous—and the brands are eager to shove entertainment (read: ads) directly into your face via your car.
At the LA Auto Show today, Warner Brothers and tech company Intel announced they’re partnering on a deal “to convert a self-driving car into one that becomes an experimental entertainment pod,” as USA Today describes it.
In the future, your car won’t be a car, it could be an experimental entertainment pod. God. I had trouble even typing that out.
I feel like driving an old Lancia Stratos is my idea of an “experimental entertainment pod,” but the future’s not really going the way I want.
Here’s more from that story:
Those being transported the cars no longer will have to drive or pay attention to the road, so they may want to watch movies or TV. The windows of the car could become screens for augmented reality, or the car itself could be a mobile billboard.
“We’re building a partnership with Warner Bros. to bring those experiences to life,” [Intel CEO Brian] Krzanich said.
[...] With augmented reality, the interior of the car could be made to look like the interior of the Batmobile, said Thomas Gewecke, chief digital officer for Warner Bros.
Self-driving cars represent “one of the biggest expansions of time for entertainment,” Gewecke said.
In order to drive this point home, the two companies cooked up the rendering you see above—an abjectly horrifying orgy of clip art where the “car” has an oversized Mini Cooper speedometer and a screen displaying apps next to Justice League, an expensive bomb.
It is critical to note that this is how a lot of companies view the future of the car: an additional chance to shove “entertainment” and, even more to the point, more advertisements down your throat. You see ads on the internet, on TV, before movies, on billboards and on buses and more: autonomy is an opportunity to make sure you’re getting maximum brand exposure while you’re being shuttled to work or school or wherever else the pod needs to take you. In this brave new car, you are no longer an active agent, you’re literally a captive audience strapped into a pod being force-fed whatever garbage the #brands produced that year.
Listen, Warner Brothers and Intel: I don’t even want to see Justice League in a theater. I certainly don’t want my motoring experience to be centered around Justice League. No one does.
This is awful. I hope the future is nuclear holocaust instead.