Intimate Technology S01E03: A iReal

NextNature.net
October 24th 2017

Imagine if your devices could have their own life: after a hard day facilitating your social life, your iPhone simply does not go to sleep, but ventures out to hold intimate conversations with its own peers. Guy Farber’s playful short movie "A iReal" explores this very possibility.

We increasingly think of our handheld devices as part of the family; they recognise us, talk to us, know our habits. But rarely we consider what our phones and tablets, defined by their ability to communicate for us, might have to say for themselves if they had the chance. Your iPhone might gossip about your social life. Your Kindle might be quietly judging your reading habits (Harry Potter, again?).

Or it might not be about you at all. In Farber’s interpretation, the devices gather not to talk about their owner behind his back or plot an iPhone rebellion, but to discuss their feelings. The precocious phones of "A iReal" communicate in uncannily human ways. They make eye contact with their video cameras, shuffle closer to each other across the desk, and talk in both visual text and small robotic voices. “I love you” says one. “I love you too” replies the other. Romeo and Juliet become Samsung and iPhone - a digital romance.

Farber’s film makes us think about how far we have gone in humanizing our technologies. Does your phone have a sentimental value beyond its functionality? Do our devices get to be intimate too?

Credit: A iReal by Guy Farber (UK)

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Should men be able to give birth to children?


Joyce Nabuurs: To me this question seems to be a logical next step in the emancipation movement of the past century. More and more women entered the workspace, but the responsibility for pregnancy and childrearing remained female.

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