MIT Is Building Terminator's NASCAR Cousin


AIDA May Drive You Crazy

AIDA may drive you crazy.

MIT today introduced AIDA (Affective, Intelligent Driving Agent), which I will forever think of as the world’s most annoying backseat, er, dashboard, driver. Researchers have conceived a platform comprised of an interactive robot that can tap into directions, GPS, your facial cues and your car’s inner workings to guide you safely and efficiently through the world. Why is that annoying? Because unlike your spouse telling you the fastest way to the grocery store, as a computer, it will almost always be right.

“When it merges knowledge about the city with an understanding of the driver’s priorities and needs, AIDA can make important inferences,” explains Assaf Biderman, associate director of the SENSEable City Lab. “Within a week AIDA will have figured out your home and work location. Soon afterwards the system will be able to direct you to your preferred grocery store, suggesting a route that avoids a street fair-induced traffic jam. On the way AIDA might recommend a stop to fill up your tank, upon noticing that you are getting low on gas,” says Biderman. “AIDA can also give you feedback on your driving, helping you achieve more energy efficiency and safer behavior.”

I wonder if MIT researchers can teach it to say, “I told you so!” after you fail to take its advice.



Tough crowd.. it is a university doing fundamental research, right? I like the idea of KNOWING I’m on the fastest route. I like that Audi is investing in the next crop of engineers.

What I’m more concerned of is the dumbing down of the individual. Remember when we didn’t used to have cell phones and we actually had to plan our trips? You wouldn’t be able to get to the soup aisle and call your wife to find out if she wants tomato or mushroom soup. Or people never learning to spell with spellcheck. Or not learning their way with LBS. etc. etc.

For the record, I covet an R8 too.. too cheap to buy one tho. You know how much those things cost!?!


Looks like they named AIDA to be more closer to the sponsor (AUDI) may see ads that say AIDA from AUDI. and you can see the Audi style eye lashes’ lights on the robot in the animation too.

I love my AUDI ;-)

Stacey Higginbotham

Satish, I noticed that.

I would love an R8 if I could afford one. AND if it would hold my daughter’s car seat :)


I think you are right, it will become annoying really fast. Why.
Let’s take a look what something like mean means.

Meaning = Augmentation of data

The bad news is. The augmentation is based on past, present and wait for it, future data. Past should be clear, equals your memory. Present is more complex, in language understanding for example it includes Body language, even smell. From all the present and past data we try to extrapolate what comes next, future.

In other words it’s easier to build and autonomous artificial brain, then second guessing a human.
Which means :-) in at least 20% -30% of your driving this system will guess wrong, which will really annoy you. Or I’m not driving to work today because we have 3 feet of snow on the ground, I need to get to the Grocery store instead, and I will go to one which is easier accessible than the one I normally use.
OTH, I have said before that most of the MIT Intelligence systems are based on 300 years of Voodoo. Didn’t go over to well. But as long as they work from none testable definitions, what else to say.

dumbAI apps

This is the epitome of using AI for facilitating the obvious.

It is about as dumb an app as you can imagine (OK, there are some other “facilitate the obvious” AI apps out there or about to be released as well)…

I mean, really, how many of us ever run out of gasoline? We already have a little light that goes on and tells us if we’re low.

How many of us don’t know a dozen alternative routes to get to/from work? This device takes a week to learn how you go to work? I can set that in Google Maps on my Mobile in half a minute.

If it’s a “favorite” grocery, I think I know how to get there.

This is about as absurd as “AI apps” that will check and make a reservation at a restaurant for you, after you open the App, go through a few steps, including talking to it, rather than just use your existing voice or speed dial and speak to someone at the restaurant…

Sometimes technology in all it’s glory is applied in very stupid ways. People working in AI don’t seem to “get” how the real world works and how to apply their technology in a meaningful way — they all seem to have these SciFi dreams of digital personal assistants, and don’t realize that we don’t really need them.

What we need is an AI filter that would automatically change the radio station whenever a commercial comes on…

Or, an AI robot that changes a flat tire for us or puts on snow chains for us…

Or, some App that would guide us back to the Rental Car facility in a new city without pushing buttons.

But, it’s MIT, academia, where the rubber doesn’t need to meet the road…they get a tenured salary no matter what they do…

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