FORT MYERS, Fla. — Have you seen the National Geographic documentary "Million?"
You need to. Especially, if you are in the automotive industry. It talks about machine learning, artificial intelligence through a storyline.
The program opens at the scene of a fatal car accident. EMS is there, but personnel are represented by Star Wars-esque androids.
The droid approaches a parent and delivers the matter-of-fact news that the child is dead. The droid asks the mother if she wants to save her child's "memories." The droid reminds the mother that she has only minutes to decide.
The decision is made: The child's mind survives even though her body does not. The next scene shows the AI (artificial intelligence) child, at home, interacting with the adults as if nothing has happened. The AI machine — and, the girl's thoughts — perpetually lives on.
Great documentary. The AI timing is off, in my opinion — too conservative — but, the message is clear: The technology is here, in its primordial stage.
It's slowly infiltrating our daily lives. Smart phones, laptops and now virtual assistants, such as Amazon's Alexa, are worming their way into our personal living spaces. "How low do you want the thermostat?" It knows. "What do you like to watch on television, on Thursday evenings?" The channel is set. This is just the beginning.
We are all too familiar through news articles and corporate advertisements of how vehicles are capable of taking a command and driving to a destination. On their own.
Of course, there are rules and regulations that keep an observer in the driver's seat — at this time. But, all the same, the cars, trucks, semis are moving on their own.
Really, nothing too new, though. Mercedes Benz had "self-driving" vehicles in the mid-1980s. The rest of the world caught-up. Quickly. This century.
Earlier this decade, test vehicles began "talking" to each other, called "V2V," or vehicle-to-vehicle. "You're stopping? Well, I guess I will, too."
Then, there's "V2I," or vehicle to infrastructure. Now, cars and trucks are communicating with items such as construction and school zones. Even the local levels of the Department of Transportation (DOT) are prepping how to keep the vehicle flow efficient.