I heart my computer

In the design of our future media and systems, we should not shrink from this emotional aspect as a legitimate part of our fantic (see p. 317) design.” (p.306)

The attention Nelson draws to our emotional connections with technology seems (like so much of what we are reading in this seminar) eerily prescient. It made me think of two ways that these connections affect our own world.

First, the importance of design as well as function in the devices we use. Recall the palpable glee we all felt that first day of class, when we were handed our Ipads. That was partly giddy expectation about how we would use the machine. But it was also (I think) a sense of wonder about the beauty of the object itself. We have Steve Jobs to thank for emphasizing the importance of design in our machines–some of the most entertaining scenes in Walter Isaacson’s biography of him feature Jobs terrorizing his underlings because they are interfering with his design vision, e.g. pointing out that it would be much easier to make ear-buds out of multiple pieces, like everyone else does, rather than crafting them in one unified piece.

Second, and even more worthy of discussion, is the possibility that we might feel the same kinds of emotions towards machine as we do towards other humans–and (get ready for it) that they might be able to reciprocate. I wish I had seen the movie “Her.” But even though I haven’t, I still want to talk about this intriguing story in which a man falls in love with his operating system. This raises all kinds of fascinating questions about the relationship between humans and computers, and ultimately the relationship between our bodies and our minds/emotions.

Want to take this a step further? Ask Siri what she thinks about “Her” — and see if you get the same responses as these folks in the New York Times.

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