TED Conversations

Sumit Dagar

Interaction Designer, National Institute of Design, India


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Should an interface have an emotional connect with a user?

..some fun, when you ride..

..some joy, when you understand..

..some connect, when you fall..

..some excitement, when you explore..

..some life, when you remember..

..some imagination, when you dream..

..some hope, when you loose..

..some charm, when you have a Scooter!

Cant say so, for the ubiquitous interfaces of the day.

As we get more and more advanced, the technology gets smarter and smarter (faster and increasingly interconnected). The face it presents starts to say "I am supersmart, I am trying to adjust to your comprehension level"... and not what it could have said "It's simple! try it! it will be fun!".

We have already being through alienation during industrialization that saw us getting increasingly lonely in a society. Is this the new alienation? Are we getting more and more disconnected with the machines we use everyday?

At some point of time, can we dream of "some charm", in the connect we have with devices we are spending our days with.

May be, may be not? may be worth exploring....


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    Jun 27 2011: Sorry for not answering the comments individually in the interest of taking the debate forward. But thanks everyone, specially Atilla, for the thoughts. Its really good to understand so many perspectives.

    The apprehensions, specially about artificial emotions, are the first thing that comes to mind. Its gross to visualize a machine with emotions.

    But, can there be some positives as well?

    To take an actual example in a parallel field. Are the Khan Academy tutorials much more fun just because they talk to users (children) in their language or more because they are not as cold as others in their methods. A certain level of warmth has changed the way children react to being taught online.

    Again, its all very contextual. But would it be "cool" to have a bit more "warm" interactions.. or we need to reject the idea altogether...

    To think of it in terms of logic, computers (/machines) are actually built on logic, and if emotions follow logic they become fake. And thats what makes us grossed out about emotional machines?
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      Jun 29 2011: Sumit, I think we should not be talking about the machine as a standalone object that we interact with. We interact with a fellow human beings that has perpetuated their knowledge and care in the digital world much like great people in the past have perpetuated their knowledge, principles and care through oral tradition, cultures and the press.

      There is so much we can do in this area with the diversity of our soceity, psychology and different stages of our learning lives. All of this is now possible with our information tecnologies. We can for example first indentify our 'human configuration' - like age, culture (beliefs) and current concern, then we go to a machine that can fully interact with us (our senses) but with the great people talking to us through these machines.

      There is none better use of this technology than is today with our need to transform our world. We can actually do it now with our current techlogies, we just need to ignite more hearts and minds to help transform our world. http://Bit.Ly/ThePowerInfo

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