My third pet
Cool News reported recently on a study done by Beki Grinter of Georgia Tech claiming that Roomba owners have breathed a new kind of life into their machines. The study found that die-hard owners name their vacuums, assign it a gender (usually a "he") and introduce it to their parents.
Since writing a blog on our first Roomba, our trustworthy and efficient new friend, I've occasionally wondered whether my love for and utter devotion to this perfect little bundle of metal parts (and it, to me) was in some way a sign of "unhealthy" behavior (as my Enneagram might note).
Beki Grinter's study is reassuring, in a nanotech, sci-fi, 21st century kind of way. It's comforting knowing that Roomba, my third pet, fulfills the same kind of emotional need for me as it does others. But, should it be worrisome that machines are replacing our once animate relationships?
I think this phenomena is a notch more controversial than talking to your plants. It begs so many questions about the future of our computing lives. Like, is this about replacing our relationships, or enhancing them? Is it about finding peace in our devices? Is it escape? Is it about the love and devotion we all dream of having? Who said that these needs couldn't be fulfilled by smart, loyal, well-designed electronic gadgets?