When I originally posted this video, it was without any commentary, and I let the post title speak for itself. At the time I thought it an interesting piece of tech which tied loosely to the course because we had looked at H.A.L. through the film festival. Reading back through my posts now, and re-watching the clip, I felt it needed further commentary.
Was I intrigued by the tech because it would add some new unique functionality to my life? I don’t actually own an iPhone, so the fact that this was an Iris 9000 Voice Control Module for Siri (iPhone’s voice activated personal assistant), was not the compelling feature. I have voice command controls and text to speech functionality on my BlackBerry already, and it’s not a feature that I use, so that wasn’t it either.
Perhaps it was to have a conversation piece for display… something from popular culture that not everyone would understand, but would be kitschy to have. I think this is the most likely case… but then it got me thinking about another reason why this might be desirable.
We tend to have the need to humanize our things. We give them faces, human voices, visual cues to interact with, so that we can relate more readily to them. Pressing the button on the front of the phone and speaking to an ethereal voice somehow seems more natural if the voice is represented by a familiar physical object (with a glowing red light). Giving it a recognizable persona somehow makes it seem more real.