Sunday, October 6, 2013

Mr. Moodgeist and the commute of the future

Ever vigilant in my quest for cutting edge technology to make your life safer, happier, more pleasant, I bring you the wave of the future:  Ladies and Gentlemen; Moodgeisting!

That’s right, Moodgeisting! – The latest and greatest creep into your private moments.  An ostensibly altruistic attempt at control.

Now, picture yourself on the freeway in your Toyota.  (We all drive Toyotas now, don’t we?) 

And this morning, you’re feeling a little bit crabby.  Say the dog drooled on your croissant and your pants leg and your file folder with today’s presentation.  Say you jammed your toe on the sprinkler head just before it spurted into motion dousing the fresh pants you changed into.
Your good humor is threadbare and you have strapped yourself into a one-ton fuel-efficient marvel of a mechanized stress-venting machine.

So you head onto the freeway to find that gusty winds have fellow commuters swingin’ and swayin’ their way into the city.  Oh boy.  This is going to be fun.

By the way, research indicates that a driver in a bad mood is more likely to have an accident than a gleeful goofball with kids on the honor roll and a new pair of shoes who’s zipping in and out of traffic while singing along with Bob Marley.

And I don’t know about you, but when my sunshiny self is overcast by an eventful morning, I’ve been known to grip the steering wheel with a tad more zeal.  Or grit my veneers just so.  These telltale indicators should prompt me to reassess my determination to get ahead of this jerk in the Escalade.  But sometimes I lose track of my higher self.

Not to worry!  Toyota has anticipated this very situation.  Toyota has Moodgeisting!  That’s right.  They’ve included mood-reading technologies “in-cabin” to provide drivers like you and me with mood metrics and calming advice.

What mood-reading technologies, you might ask.   Why, facial recognition, for one.  And we’re not talking about the kind of facial recognition where your car greets you like Bat Man, fires up on 12 cylinders and purrs down the expressway inspiring awe in those around you.  Though it might do that if you’d only cheer up. 

No.  We’re talking about in-cabin facial recognition technology that scans your face looking for frownies.  Frownies are bad for you; frownies could cause accidents. 

Yes, your invisible Moodgeisting buddy employs a range of biometric indices of your disposition comprised of analysis of your voice, sweat, pupil dilation and grip, among others.

Like Santa Claus, Mr. Moodgeist knows if you’re being bad or good.  He knows that happy motorists speak in sweet voices and rest dry palms on the wheel.  You just can’t fake sweet and dry, now can you? 

Yes, Mr. Moodgeist, for your own safety you understand, can sense when you’re on the verge of spontaneous combustion.  And as a first line of response, he gives you the readouts of your escalating biometrics, so you can bring yourself back into line. 

You can look at the rising thermometer next to “pulse,” for example, and say to yourself, “My oh my!  I must breathe deeply to drop my heart rate and alleviate my agitation.  Driving under stress is unsafe, according to research.”

“I’ll just chant my mantra and coax my sweat glands into submission.  Mellow!  Mellow!”

And here’s the greatest thing:  If you can’t talk yourself down from the carpool lane crazies; if your pupils remain dilated; if you continue to wrench the steering wheel on its post and sweat through your work shirt, Mr. Moodgeist will take over and speak to you in soothing tones with calming advice.

I imagine he’ll say something like, “Slow down!  Slow down!  You’re going to kill yourself!”  Or, “Think of your children!  They need you!”  Or, “For God’s sake, brake!  Brake!  Steer INTO a skid!” 

Hahaha!  Just kidding.  I’m sure Mr. Moodgeist is programmed with just the right balance of logic and psychology to calmly tap into the Stepford stem of your brain, ensuring that you will reduce your speed, graciously permit others into your lane, and courteously pull over so others can pass.

Just surrender, Dear Reader.  Just give in. 

Mr. Moodgeist knows best.  You can trust him in these matters.  Relax.