While enjoying a Sunday morning edition of Beyond Tomorrow on the Science Channel (a show which the Australians had to rename from Beyond 2000, 4 years after y2k) I realized that Japan makes everything look adorable, while Australia says everything in an adorable manner (nappy, cozzy, Aussie, winge). It was the perfect match to present a concept car that you want to scoop up in your hand and pet vigorously.
The Pivo (my tabloid nickname for Jeremy Piven) is a three-seated electric car that has replaced a lot of the mechanical drive mechanisms with an electrical system, supposedly making it more efficient. Each tire moves, so you can drive laterally if you think only one axis of travel is “faggoty.” On top of that chunk of sweetness, the driving pod (I made that term up) rotates 360 degrees making it the perfect automobile for an archer.
The most disturbing part of this palmable Mario Kart is the RA, or Robotic Agent. In the pic to the right it’s that little bulb sticking out of the dashboard. It is Mr. Nissan’s hope (or rather, Nissan-San) that the driver develop a creepy affection* for the RA and form some kind of unholy motorist partnership:
“With the RA’s face peering over the instrument panel, the RA ‘talks’ and ‘listens’ to the driver, inferring the driver’s mood through conversation and facial monitoring technology. Besides providing information for driving operations, RA is programmed to ‘cheer up’ or ‘soothe’ the driver, depending on the situation.”
This part is not as exciting to me because I’m sure that the robot is NOT programmed to understand sarcasm and passive aggressiveness, a staple of American communication**. Furthermore, few things make me angrier than trying to be talked out of my anger ESPECIALLY by a sterile, soulless device who can never fully understand why every other driver sucks. In essence, RA would end up becoming the proxy recipient for my Los Angeles-based traffic rage. On the other hand, if they programmed it to start crying after I yelled at it, thereby stirring up guilt and self-hatred, THAT would pull me out of my anger. I would heavily apologize and RA would say in words broken up by sniffles and voice cracking, “That’s okay.” If there were passengers in the two remaining seats, RA would wearily reassure them in monotone robot vocalization, “He really is sweet most of the time. You…[sniff]…you just don’t know him like I do…” NOW we’re talking about a dysfunctional, co-dependent relationship based on Green technology that I could really get behind!
Get more info and marvel at the flashy-pants Pivo web portal here.
*Japan sure loves to make things to fawn over–rounded edges, enormous eyes, hug-hungry…Why are they constantly trying to get into a baby’s headspace? I hope the Japanese pour as much affection onto other Japanese as they do onto their subculture of inanimate affection vessels.
**SIDE NOTE: A friend of mine lived in Japan for a while and noted that, unlike Americans, they don’t just make up euphemisms whenever they feel like it. In a conversation about foxy ladies he dropped the classic “furburger” on them and they had no idea what he meant. He had to translate it into literal Japanese as “a hairy hamburger with legs.” They laughed but most of them became vegetarians after the imagery had sunk in.
Images: Nissan Global