Here’s something I’ve been pondering a while, and I’d be interested to hear what you think.
We know that people anthropomorphise technology, that is to say, they relate to it as though it has human qualities. People talk to their computers, they talk about them as though they are capable of having human emotions or objectives. They have, for many years, had more or less a one-to-one relationship with their computer.
These days, if you’re a fan of social software, it seems as though your computer is now crawling with *real* people. Emails, twitter messages, incoming IM conversations, skype calls. Photographs of people you know, used as avatars, are constantly popping up on your screen, appearing in the web pages you’re browsing. Real human voices, voices of people you know, abound.
It seems to me an odd juxtaposition – anthropomorphism and the increasing *realness* of the voices of the people who now ‘populate’, so vibrantly, our computers. (Did we ever feel the need to ‘humanise our mobile phones? I mean, I hate mine passionately… but I’m pretty sure it’s not ‘personal’).
I get a sense that, perhaps, our need imagine our computers human-like may be on the decline as they become more and more tools for transmitting the voices of people we know and love.
Anyone else getting the sense that anthropomorphism may be, slowly, on the way out?