Smells like static

If you love your phone so much, why don’t you just marry it? If our eyes keep rolling to the back of our heads in ecstasy with every swipe, that might just be the next logical step.

This week I was at a restaurant where two people sat at a table, seemingly oblivious to each other’s presence. The reason? Their brand new Apple iWatches – the perfect way to enjoy all the benefits of your mobile phone whilst on the move. A bit like, well, your mobile phone but without the extra effort of having to reach into your pocket and make excuses to the person across the table before checking the latest video uploads on PornHub. Or if you’re a real wanker, the most recent news from the stock market.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those technophobes who didn’t buy a Kindle because I loved the ‘experience’ I got from reading a book; the smell of the paper, those chance encounters with the previous owners’ handwritten thoughts on a passage. Who needs that when you’ve got a novel that smells like static? I accept that technology is our greatest liberator, but each screen has become a window of escape from one another. And we couldn’t love them more for it.

There are studies out there that compare the reactions our brains have when we look at pictures of brands such as Apple and religious imagery. The brain activity reported was scarily similar for both, which goes a long way in explaining the weirdly energetic, drink-the-Kool-Aid style enthusiasm that you get from Apple store assistants. Another study that used the same technique also found that their brains lit up like the White House in support of gay marriage when subjects heard the sound of their phones go off. This is the area of the brain associated with love and compassion.

Both of these studies go some way to explain why our sphincters tighten at the thought of leaving our mobile phones at home for a day. Brands bank on this anxiety and devotion to our technology when it comes to bending us over and financially fucking us every time they release a new product.

But despite hating how we’re exploited by big corps and wishing we could bypass tech to really connect with each other on a deeper level, there’s the bigger part of me that loves being able to hunker down behind a screen on the morning commute and not have to worry about uncomfortable eye contact or chit-chat. And bypassing those awkward moments at dinner by checking out the latest duck face on Instagram (maybe an Apple watch isn’t such a bad idea…).

In fact when I read about Pepper, a robot that can read human emotion, the first thought I had was ‘I want one’. Clearly everyone else had the same thought, as it sold out in 60 seconds flat for a mere £1,000 a pop, plus extras. And why the hell not? This robot’s concerned about your emotional wellbeing. Yours and only yours. It won’t judge you on your outfit or when you walk into the room with something in your teeth. It only cares about cheering you up, hearing you out and quite possibly making you feel less like the depressed parasite you are.

Either way, move over dogs everywhere, man’s got a new best friend. And we need to get a plug point to charge them. Go sit over there or something. Don’t look at me like that… stop judging me!

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