They cry, and must be picked up. They must be plugged into a wall at night to be fed. They must be upgraded, protected, and cared for. In return, they provide information, connectivity and entertainment. They grow alongside humans and adapt to fit their needs, as humans adapt to fit the needs of the device.
That’s Amber Case, writing about cell phones, in her new book, An Illustrated Dictionary of Cyborg Anthropology. She says that as our lives become increasingly entwined with our digital devices, our language needs to catch up.
For example, she sees cell phones as “companion species.” She says that if you never throw away your computer files or photos, you might be a “digital hoarder.” “Connective obligation” is what happens when — because of sites like Facebook and always-with-you gadgets like cell phones — you feel like you need to respond to every digital poke and prod.
Do you see yourself in these terms?
How is your relationship to technology changing? How is it changing you?