Humans often feel empathy towards inanimate objects—I used to pity a lonely couch when people would come to the house and people sat on other furniture and I used to feel sorry for the forgotten stuffed animal in the corner of my room. So, that sense of duty or responsibility I had towards comforting that left out stuffed animal and that isolated couch were not dependent upon my perception of those things as being “smart”. There was no technology involved in those objects, yet as an emotional human being, I felt the need to take care of these things and include them to make them feel of use. However, I don’t feel that same sense of empathy towards my cell phone or my laptop; maybe I grew out of placing empathy on things which do not in turn have empathy when I turned twelve. But it’s different to think that if my phone were in the shape of a puppy, or if I still had my iDog, I would feel compassion towards these objects.
They are in fact, “objects” which have been anthropomorphized and given the shape of something which represents life. In Carla Diana’s article, “The Dream of Intelligent Robot Friends”, she states that “we indulge the illusion that an interactive product is a living character, such as a pet or friend, silly as we know it is”. If our technological things could interact with us and converse with us, it might be entirely strange and abominable, or it may be useful and intriguing. The concept of objects being ascribed humanlike reaction, voices, and thoughts reminds me of spike Jonze’s 2013 film Her, in which a man falls in love with a smart device—his highly advanced computer operating system. Here is a Clip From “Her” where the Computer expresses her “feelings” .This film explores the complex dependencies and human relationships we contrive with our devices. However, the film implies that technology is so enticing and advanced that it is easy to become captivated, carried away, obsessed and infatuated with these sophisticated devices. Even so, these things may appear human and may be able to help us, but they can never BE us. They are missing that essential thing which comes only from nature—the soul.