Aug 08, 2013

Can we literally fall in love with our tech devices?

There is a new Spike Jonez film called Her that is essentially about a man falling in love with a more advanced version of Siri. This led me to think about it on my train ride this morning, which has become like my private Milesian School. It it inevitable that as interfaces become more and more natural and interactive, we will develop actual emotional connections to our technological devices? People clearly feel something already, as evidenced by the existence of Apple “tribes” and Android “tribes”, but I think that is more a group affinity response than it is a deeply felt emotional connection to the actual device.

I think we'll see that when the japanese roll out their sex robots. Heh, heh. But as far as something like Siri goes, forget it. I don't even use Siri on my iphone or ipad. Ugh. I just hate talking to my devices. Faster and easier to type than to talk.

 I think it may be possible when we reach the point where our devices respond empathetically and appropriately to our interactions. Also, humans respond automatically to certain visual cues, such as large heads in proportion to bodies and large eyes, in theory because it triggers our ingrained behavior as social animals to protect the young. It helps explain why most of us see puppies and kittens as "cute". If you look at robotics designs, it is common for the designers to recognize this and build them with visual cues to appeal to this instinct.


This also raises the question of what is love. Is it the same thing to all individuals? I don’t know if it is something we all experience in the same way, anymore than I know if the red I see is the same red that you and others see. In any case, this looks like an interesting film. Spike Jonez has done some pretty cool work in the past, including Being John Malkovich, so I expect it to be pretty good. 


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