A professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, John Hawks thinks two qualities could play a special part in our transportation future: social behavior and intelligence.
Your car will get to know you. Acting like Google ads, "smart" cars will gather data on driving habits and routines. In the process, your car will absorb culturally specific social information, adapting to the way you live and to the way you drive. Convivial Italian cars will be crammed together, brusque Egyptian cars won't stop for pedestrians, and brash American cars will push the speed limit whenever possible.
Socially intelligent cars will also transmit personal information. We already use cars to communicate with other people: to tell them who we are, what we're like, and how we drive. Imagine a programmable skin on the outside of the car that can change colors, patterns, or even display text. No surprise that Hawks considers this a high-tech version of an ages-old phenomenon: bumper stickers.