Sunday, August 3, 2008

Electronic Anthropomorphism

Someone actually studied how anthropomorphism toward computer terminals affected loyalty to the terminal .

How did I learn this, you ask? I was wondering if anyone studied electronic anthropomorphism.

You see, when I returned from my two weeks away from my computer, it started misbehaving. The screen would go black, or blue. It was very unresponsive at times. I started getting pretty peeved with it. I decided it was time for a replacement. Normally, I’m quite monogamous. But it had, after all, lived a full life. Five years for a laptop in daily use is about what we’d expect. Less than a marriage, but more than a fling.

There’s an interesting article, if you’re interested in this sort of thing, which attempts to explain the conditions under which we are more or less like to anthropomorphize. On the basis of the article, I might conclude that I’m lacking in adequate human relationships or that my relative novice status vis-à-vis machines enables me to react as if the machine was intentionally willing me harm.

Now the replacement machine is almost completely functional for my purposes, I’m wondering is the Vista system is, in fact, plotting my demise. Really, it’s not bad I told a friend earlier this evening. But now, as the night wears on, I’m beginning to wonder. Multiple internet explorer screens appearing unbidden. Outlook address book that is clearly my new bad boy.

But am I going to let it get in my way? Heck no. It’s just another bounce back opportunity. I’m working, very slowly at this point, on my next newsletter which I think will be about resilience. One way to look at resilience is to think of the ability to bounce back, which I have in exceptional abundance I’m told.

You see even with this computer snafu, I’m still working on ideas that I’m sure will come in handy at some point. After all, there was R2-D2, the i-Cybie and Blade Runner’s replicant, Rachael; and was Deckard a replicant after all? Who knows, maybe I’ll write the next 2001.

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