Are we really ready for this?

By Karen Zautyk

The thing in the photo, which resembles a lunchbox on wheels, is a car. A “concept” car. A car of such a disturbing concept that it is giving me nightmares (although, to put things in perspective, lots of things — millennials, bad lobster, a nuclear North Korea, MSNBC — give me nightmares). Still, this is something about which we should all be concerned.

The automobile is called the NeuV (New Electric Utility Vehicle) and it is the brainchild of Honda, which unveiled it last month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Its alleged selling point? It has emotions.

You read that correctly.

As reported in the Washington Post, the NeuV “is capable of understanding the driver’s emotions and developing emotions of its own.”

The Post continued: “Honda expects the car will ‘grow up’ with its driver and share in his or her experiences, prompting the driver to feel the car ‘has become a good partner and thus form a stronger emotional attachment toward it’.”

I don’t know about you, but I prefer cars that are already “grown up.” On a long road trip, will the juvenile NeuV want to sing “99 Bottles of Beer [or “bottles of milk” to be PC] on the Wall” ad nauseam? Will it demand frequent bathroom stops? And most important, if it’s not “grown up” how will it be able to drive legally in the first place?

As for the two of us forming a strong emotional attachment, thanks but no thanks. Imagine where this could lead.

Suppose the car gets jealous of another vehicle? Suppose it accuses me of paying too much attention to the neighbor’s Corvette? Suppose it decides it does not like being left alone for long periods of time while I’m working or shopping?

Suppose every ride home turns into an argument? Suppose it develops a tendency toward road rage and starts rear-ending other cars? Suppose it starts using drugs? What cop is going to believe that the aroma of pot is coming from the engine and not the driver?

Will Honda provide some sort of professional counseling to deal with such crises?

And if the car and I develop irreconcilable differences, would I be able to get out of the lease or sale contract without penalty or having to hire a lawyer?

Even if the NeuV and I were to form a blissful, long-term partnership, odds are that eventually I would have to tell it, “Sorry, but I’m trading you in for a newer model.”

I already feel guilty.

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