Like with pets and babies, we seem to like it when devices mimic our behaviour and social patterns. In the process of domesticating technology, we teach products to behave like ourselves. But we all know that almost every learning process starts with copying…

Earlier this year we have written about Siri, a relatively new feature in Apples iOS that allows users to control their iPhones with their voices in a quite convincing way. Especially the ‘intelligent’ answers Siri gave to questions stole many users hearts.

But what happens if speaking devices start having conversations with each other? In the nineties, there was the Furby a furry toy animal that could talk. Some lucky owners of these fantastic creatures reported having sleepless night after their toy friends got stuck in a feedback loop of nocturnal conversations. Of course, this only happened between products of the same technological species (batteries included).

The short movie featured in this post is also an example of this ‘Furby-effect’. The movie is funny, but why exactly? Which one of the phones dp you feel most sympathy for? Do we even see some character development over here?

We have become radically dependent on the technology we have created ourselves. But the opposite is also true. We have a symbiotic relationship with the things we create. So, at the same thing, the whole thing is a little bit sad: it shows how helpless the products are, without us interacting with them.

Yet, it points out to a future when the devices around us lead whole social lives, without us being involved. One day, you might find your mobile phone and your refrigerator gossiping about you…


Thanks Coralie Vogelaar

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