Why Your iPhone Wants to be Your Best Friend

Technology Friend or Foe?

I saw the movie HER with a group of friends. The movie takes place in the future and the main character has a new improved IPhone like device with its own personality and they start dating. It's a very odd and thought provoking movie. The research study below my entry is about how we use are phones as our companions because they are designed to be.
In Fact, my friends and I couldn't stop talking about the implications of having a tech girlfriend or tech boyfriend and discussing how we currently view and interact in our relationships. I am fascinated by the idea we are and will continue to use technology as our personal companion. In my book, SNAP Making the Most of First Impressions Body Language and Charisma I discuss how we date are phones and carry them around and tend to them like they are our own little three year old child and give specific steps to use technology properly, with respect to your clients and fellow employees.

My audiences talk about how they bring their iPhone or pad or laptop to be with them and how it might be the last thing they interact with and touch before they go to sleep and the first thing they reach for in the morning. Yep, when I am on the road speaking that is certainly true for me. Goodness I use it to read up about every author who's books I am reading,  the history of the places I visit, the directors and actors in the movies I watch and I use my phone placed by my hotel bed side table as a sleep machine to block out hotel noise.
The other night I was watching a TV show that is my favorite guilty pleasure, "Graham Norton." on the show he had three famous actors, but the host spent a 5 minute segment playing with a little robot who walks and dances. All this happened with the actors sitting watching. And we were mesmerized. The robot was upstaging three actors. One of whom is listed as "The Highest Grossing Actor of All Time." ( You can look his name up on you smart phone) The little robot only costs 12,000 pounds. (more than 12,000 US Dollars. The last line of the article below was the most interesting it says, "But there's a trend here, and its toward technology as companion. It's as if consumer electronics companies are giving up the pretense that technology is connecting people and are instead designing it so that we don't miss them at all. " What do you think.

Here is an interesting article on how technology wants us to date our cell phones.

Why your iPhone wants to be your best friend    
Technology is increasingly designed to make you forget it's not human

Humans seek companionship. When no one else is around, we look elsewhere for it. I don't think I'm alone in turning on the television or checking Twitter at every opportune moment to "check in" on other people. On weekends or late nights in the office, I often fire up our drone and have it hover around the room. It makes me feel like someone else is there. Perhaps it would have been more practical for us to get a Roomba.
The point is, for as long as we've had technology, people have sought companionship from it. What's new is that consumer electronics companies are now designing their products to mimic human voices and even biological functions: From voice-activated phones to washing machines that coo in disturbing simpatico with human beings — not to mention the trend in car manufacture toward more explicitly face-like front ends.
You may know that Nokia chose its famous SMS tone because it shares a frequency with that of a crying infant. That's a sound most of the population is already keenly tuned in to. In other words, a mobile phone manufacturer tapped into maternal terror to ramp up the attention-seeking quotient of its handheld devices.
Apple's "personal assistant" Siri is one of the best-known examples of anthropomorphism in technology. Apple knows this, which is why the company is so smart and a little smug about it. Try asking Siri to "open the pod bay doors" and she will respond in a slow and monotonous tone, a stark change from her usual robotic accent.
While Siri lacks HAL's capabilities for art appreciation, chess-playing, and holding a conversation, people fell in love with her. You can't have a conversation with Siri, and you have to tap a button on the screen before issuing any command, so it's more akin to having to beat someone with a stick to get them to reply. But still.
Of course, Siri isn't a new concept. ELIZA, written by MIT professor Joseph Weizenbaum in the sixties was a "digital psychiatrist." The worst kind of psychiatrist, too: ELIZA would ask never-ending questions based on the last thing you said to her. It's a mundane program by today's standards and not in any way useful, but for its time was absolutely amazing.
Weizenbaum was shocked by the reaction to ELIZA from people who didn't understand it. His secretary would spend hours telling this program about her problems. She was, however, incredibly upset when Weizenbaum showed her the conversation logs he had kept. Which is perhaps something we can all empathize with.
Sometimes the companionship we seek can be purely physical. I have no doubt many of our readers have fallen asleep to the soft "breathing" glow (not chosen by accident) of iBooks, iMacs, PowerBooks, and MacBooks over the years. It can be strangely reassuring to glance over at your machine and know it's asleep. Alas, Apple have phased this out in their latest generation of computers as new technology allows them to be always on.
But there's a trend here, and its toward technology as companion. It's as if consumer electronics companies are giving up the pretense that technology is connecting people and are instead designing it so that we don't miss them at all. Bit sinister, really. Don't you think?

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com. Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.