We couldn’t make this up if we tried. This shiny new car’s built-in virtual assistant is a hologram of an anime schoolgirl.
She materializes on top of your dashboard, where she can help you perform standard AI tasks such as making calls, adjusting radio volume, or switching on your windshield wipers. She also has two outfits to choose from — unsurprisingly, they both involve short skirts. One is purple and one is pink/yellow.
Drivers can also select a small cartoon boy (sorry, not sexy) and a robot as their AI guides. The unique decision to include scantily-clad anime girls as an integral part of their vehicle design comes from the auto manufacturer formerly known as Besturn, now called Bestune, which isn’t much better. To be fair, the actual car itself does look rather sleek.
Well, we can assume Bestune hasn’t been tuning in to the concerns about the disproportionate number of female virtual assistants, and what it says about gender perceptions. They also seem not to have paid attention to iQIYI, who had to pull their flagship “virtual girlfriend” from their VR headset offerings after consumers rightfully called the game out on sexism. But there is at least a small sliver of the market who will buy this car for this reason and this reason alone. Maybe that was the goal all along.
Look, Chinese cars:
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