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Arnold Tijerina

Arnold Tijerina President & Corporate Storyteller

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cb746d4a2363ab1382dfb87d6feb670e.jpg?t=1I came across a recent article on ComputerWorld about GM's China R&D Division's reveal of a mobile app named DiDi Plate. In summary, here's how the app works:

  1. While in your car, you use your mobile phone to take a picture of the license plate of the car in front of you.
  2. After the plate is scanned, it gives you the ability to text the driver/owner of the vehicle.

Some potential uses that director of GM's China R&D Division, John Du, shares are:

  1. "...a male driver uses Didi Plate to scan and then message a woman driving in front of him. He asks her for a date, which she quickly accepts."
  2. "...a woman's car is blocked in a parking lot, so she scans the plate of the car that boxed her in and tells the driver to move the vehicle."
  3. and, for bonus points, you can "Message people to tell them they're terrible drivers."

He even explained that they have "adapted the app to work with Google Glass. Just stare at the plate and it scans it and brings up the persons online profile." There are so many fails about this app and potentials for abuse I could go on forever but let's just cover the very basics here in the interest of brevity.

  • Some genius at General Motors created an app that you use WHILE DRIVING to TAKE PICTURES and then TEXT MESSAGE people. Seriously?
  • I'm sure every woman (or man) would completely welcome unsolicited text message propositions from complete strangers while driving around town. What happened to the old fashioned catcalls of yesteryear? You know the wolf whistles and "hey babe" that men yell to attractive women passing by. That worked fine, didn't it? This is the digital equivalent of that. It's like one of those dating services where all the attractive women get bombarded with messages from lonely men (or vice versa). So much for your cell phone battery life.
  • Now, instead of just flipping off the idiot who cut you off or screaming obscenities at them that they may or may not hear, you'll be able to ensure that they understand exactly what you say by simply text messaging them. Maybe you can send a selfie of you flipping them off accompanied by some choice words. Of course, when you text message someone using this app it is a) obvious that you are in the vicinity and b) your phone number is displayed on their phone. Now all of those unstable drivers who cannot control their temper will have even more opportunity to participate in a little road rage. Anybody up for the Roadside Fight Club? (It's OK as long as you don't talk about it.)

This is the most boneheaded, stupidest, insane, irresponsible, crazy, dangerous (I have a lot more adjectives for this) app ever conceived by anyone much less an automotive manufacturer's R&D division. Yeah, it's only in China so that makes it OK, right? They have too many people anyways. Perhaps this is GM's way of contributing to world overpopulation. At least they gave it an appropriate name.. Didi. I don't know what that means in China but all I can think of when I hear this in context of this app is Carlos Menica's signature phrase:

 

Robert Karbaum
I'm skeptical that this is actually real, and functions. I would love to see it in action.
Arnold Tijerina
ComputerWorld is a pretty reputable source. Here's an article about it on Jalopnik: http://jalopnik.com/is-gms-license-plate-texting-app-way-too-creepy-1592026447
Grant Gooley
WOW! GM at it's finest... Seriously? The road rage matches would be crazy!! Text rage, WHILE driving. Great app idea...............................................
Dennis Galbraith
Just a thought. Some of this may be the challenge of doing business internationally. What looks ridiculous in one culture may not be in another. From my limited understanding of China, getting into someone else's business is one's duty. From what I understand about some of the urban traffic, they are not going anywhere anyway. No doubt, it makes no sense when hearing about it through North American ears. Some auto products work pretty well across cultures. Most automotive marketing and customer engagement needs to be customized to the local culture.
Arnold Tijerina
Whether people in another culture find it ridiculous or not, culture has no bearing on the dangers that involve using a smartphone to take pictures and text while driving a car. I would argue that those behaviors are universally dangerous no matter where you live. Unless China or some other country has invented something we don't know about that prevents car accidents, Dennis.

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