Anthropomorphizing as a human feature

FFFUTURES #12, Nov 10, 2020

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I've been reading about the intersection of anthropomorphism and technology, and I thought it would be a good idea to share some resources I've found recently.

These are good reads that make you wonder. You can quickly go down a rabbit hole of what anthropomorphism is, and how it gets analyzed by different disciplines and researchers from different perspectives.

These do not mention the role of Virtual Assistants, but I’m looking at many of these resources from this perspective: our relationship with technology that simulates human-like behaviors and interactions, and what this dynamic could evolve into in the mid and long term.

Is anthropomorphism a feature, or a bug?

I'll leave here some links and quotes about this intriguing topic:

Construals – Wikipedia

Contemporary views on construal include the concepts of naïve realism, the accessibility principle, and a focus on the idea of self-construal. Lee Ross's concept of naïve realism is especially important in the context of construal. It is the conviction all of us have that we perceive things how they really are.

When does technology anthropomorphism help alleviate customer dissatisfaction after a service failure?

Given the increasing presence of humanoid service robots at airports, hotels and restaurants, the current study investigates how consumers’ interdependent self-construal and technology self-efficacy jointly influence their reactions to service machines with humanlike features in a service failure context. The results demonstrate that consumers show varying levels of dissatisfaction with a service failure caused by an anthropomorphic (vs. non-anthropomorphic) self-service machine depending on their levels of interdependent self-construal (high vs. low) and technology self-efficacy (high vs. low).

When We Need A Human: Motivational Determinants of Anthropomorphism

In particular, we test whether those who are dispositionally lonely (sociality motivation) are more likely to anthropomorphize well–known pets (Study 1), and whether those who have a stable need for control (effectance motivation) are more likely to anthropomorphize apparently unpredictable animals (Study 2).

The Development of Anthropomorphism in Interaction

Anthropomorphizing objects or biological entities is a means to establish a relation with them, dealing with them as interlocutors in a communicative interaction. This process leads to the automatic attribution of intentionality and social behavior. The anthropomorphic relation has two basic modalities, cooperation and competition. When I establish this type of relationship, I expect that the entity cooperates to the achievement of my goals, and I use communicative means to urge cooperation. In case I perceive it as an obstacle, I fight to overcome it. Obviously, all of that is imaginary.

👁️ Omnirealities

Remote Events: Dope or Nope?

Ben Costantini and Dan Taylor analyze the trend of events moving to digital. They open by stating that “having events online is exactly like having sex online.“ The prediction here is that the spike in online events is “a glitch in the matrix.”

The human spirit is not designed to remain in (semi) isolation for this long an amount of time. Yes, I realize that the human race carried on long before the advent of the airplane, train, etc., but the desire to explore new territories, see new worlds, meet new people, drove the invention of these various modes of transportation. Human. Spirit.

Should you Play the Lord of the Rings Online in 2020?

On the topic of virtual events, let’s not forget about this other way of gathering: online worlds. This video is a brief analysis of the 2007 game The Lord of the Rings Online, and how it stands in 2020 as an alternative, or an escape, of our physical world.

🔮 Future Scenarios

Flexible and reliable sensor for wearable health devices and robotic perception

Our long-term goal is to predict cardiovascular health in the form of a tiny smart patch that is placed on human skin. This TRACE sensor is a step forward towards that reality because the data it can capture for pulse velocities is more accurate, and can also be equipped with machine learning algorithms to predict surface textures more accurately

Yak Collective: Astonishing Stories

The Yak Collective is a network of over 300 independent consultants, coaches, and freelancers with varied technical and creative skills. One of their collective efforts launched recently: Astonishing Stories.

I can’t wait to read more about these stories that have a unique drive and motivation behind them:

The upside of an extremely uncertain environment is that we have been free to indulge in pure speculation about the known knowns and unknown unknowns of the future. The result is Astonishing Stories, an anthology of short vignettes from the future developed from the networked thoughts of over 30 indie consultants.

💀 Not a Cylon

Philippe Caza

Philippe Caza

Philippe Caza

🧠 Common Enemy

Robot Rights with David Gunkel

Ben Byford, an AI Ethics consultant, speaks with David Gunkel about his Robots Rights book, AI ideologies, computer ethics, anthropomorphizing as a human feature, relational ethics, and more.

How AI will power the next-gen applications in Connected Industries

Abhilash Bhardwaj shares an analysis of the roadmap to realize ‘Society 5.0’ presented by Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy Trade and Industry of Japan.

Connected Industries empower the industries with a perfect blend of the digital & physical world to add value for each entity. CI won’t replace humans, rather complement them in the future.


Learning to use an Xbox Adaptive Controller

An example of “extreme empathy” applied by Scott Hanselman, a tech teacher and speaker who is recovering from surgery and decided to learn to use Xbox’s adaptive controller.

I’ve only got the use of one arm for a while after Shoulder Surgery, and I'm currently paralyzed with a Nerve Block on my left side, so I’m going to use this opportunity to express compassion for the differently abled and learn how to use an Xbox adaptive controller.

Are you hacking with futures and other realities? Do you have comments, stories, or suggestions? I’d like to hear from you. Reach out:

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