This is so amazing I have to comment. The New York Times published a story a couple days ago about 4 Toyota inventors who filed a patent for a car that can wink, cry, laugh, wag its antenna, raise or lower its body height and vary the intensity and color of its headlights. This would allow a driver or the car itself to have a broader, more granular palette of communications tools available to express subtleties of meaning.
From what I can tell from the article, though, the car is going to collect data and then express the feelings without input from the driver directly. Here's where different AI approaches would have different options. If you think cars are smart, you want the car to be able to express some things on its own (?). We know the humans are smart (some of them anyway), but how do they control the car's emotional palette while driving? I didn't see the a discussion of how the driver could control the communications in the article.
All this time we've been struggling along with just honking and flashing our headlights. The Toyota guys forget perhaps that we drivers can gesticulate to clarify meaning such as yell, glare, flip the bird or give a thumbs up. But, since many of us are enthralled with technology, there will be people who will want to do it the high-tech way.
The inventors say they think driving will be more entertaining with cars that can express the driver's feelings. I agree. I wonder what could *emerge* from this. What if everyone is sitting stuck in traffic? What kinds of *conversations* might occur if the driver can select the direction and emotion expressed somehow. Perhaps biofeedback could be used.
I love it as an experiment. It's certainly going to be a selling point for the first cars that can do these things. My guess is that it will be quite some time before this kind of thing is implemented - as I recall Apple filed some patents related to machine emotions a while back. I'm glad we've got some inventors thinking outside the box, though. You gotta read the article, the details are fascinating. I read the original article in the NY Times and then promptly forgot it. Gizmodo has a bit about it today that had me link back to NYT and marvel.