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Toyota Wants Its Cars to Follow You on Social Media

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A Toyota thinking about Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

It’s hard not to be concerned about the growing loss of privacy in today’s digital age. It almost seems as though everyone’s life is on display on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or other forms of social media; even if you try to remain private, companies can be incredibly aggressive about finding your personal information through these sites and other means just to throw more personalized ads at you.

There is an upside to this, though—after all, there’s nothing inherently wrong with personalization. If used correctly, information about our habits and lifestyle can help companies serve us better, and not just in the form of targeted advertisement. Toyota, for instance, is working on making its cars “smarter” about knowing what we want by checking out the things we post to social media.

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A car that stalks you on Facebook might sound a bit weird or even creepy at first, but the idea is that if we are going post something on a public Internet forum, it’s already out there for the whole world to see anyway—so it might as well be used to give us a better driving experience.

How will Toyota do this? The car’s AI—which the automaker describes as a “digital concierge”—would analyze the posts a person makes on social media to learn as much about them as it can, such as their daily schedule and the kinds of foods and music they like. Then it could use this information to enhance their routine; for example, if they drove off without entering a destination in the navigation system, the concierge could determine where they are going by comparing the direction they were heading and the time of day with previous trips, and then suggest the best non-congested route.

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We have to admit, at this point it sounds like a whole lot of effort for not much. Odds are, if someone has made a trip enough times that the onboard computer would pick up the pattern, the driver probably knows how to get there already without the need for GPS guidance—which might be why they didn’t try to use it in the first place.

Still, it remains to be seen what other uses Toyota can find in making its cars follow us on social media—we imagine offering suggestions about where to eat could be one of the features, for starters.

As far as privacy goes, the “digital concierge” would be totally opt-in, so those weary of Toyota turning into Skynet or Big Brother could simply choose not to share their information. However, Toyota is confident the services it can offer by having access would win you over. We’ll just have to see about that.
News Source: Slash Gear