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Science Technology

They Finally Found Out We Like Our Computers 184

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-let-the-cat-out-of-the-bag dept.
I'm Not There (1956) writes "Sociologist Clifford Nass is talking about how people think of their computers as something like human beings. In one of his experiments, Nass found that people are more willing to 'help' computers when the computer helped them previously: 'When people were then asked to help optimize the screen resolution on a computer where the program had been "helpful," they were much more likely to do so than with the less helpful version.' He also found that people evaluating software's performance were more forgiving if the evaluation was done on the same computer the software was tested on. Nass has recently published the book The Man Who Lied to His Laptop, in which he 'uses our interactions with machines to investigate how human relationships could be improved.'"
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They Finally Found Out We Like Our Computers

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  • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @05:32PM (#33503400)

    Nass has recently published the book The Man Who Lied to His Laptop, in which he 'uses our interactions with machines to investigate how human relationships could be improved.'

    I propose forcing women to think like computers instead of like women. They would be much easier to interact with.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by biryokumaru (822262)
      I dunno, I already lie to my wife all the time and it doesn't seem to help.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by TheLink (130905)
        You past the lying with your wife stage already?
      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        If you're lying to your wife (not little white lies like "no, honey, your ass isn't big" but lies like "I have to work overtime" when you're really at the bar), your marriage is doomed.

        More on-topic, this anthropomorphism [wikipedia.org] is something I've been futily warning about for thirty years. people believe their computers think. Even back when a mainframe was less powerful than a musical Hallmark card they called them "thinking machines."

        Are you ready for the "machine rights" movement, similar to the animal rights m

        • by Thiez (1281866)

          In soviet anthropomorphia, wikipedia reads you!

          > Machines can't think, people, and they never will unless a chemistry-based computer is invented.

          Why do you think only chemicals can think? Wouldn't a computer running a simulation of a biological brain be indistinguishable from the 'real thing'?

          > How many beads do I have to put on my abacus to make it sentient?

          How many dumb neurons do I have to put in a jar to make them sentient?

    • by theheadlessrabbit (1022587) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @05:38PM (#33503472) Homepage Journal

      I propose forcing women to think like computers instead of like women. They would be much easier to interact with.

      What? are you crazy? that would be horrible....Just imagine trying to have a conversation with a woman who continually pauses, buffers, and freezes as she is talking to you... ...damn, that actually sounds pretty awesome!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Locke2005 (849178)
        Sure, but bluescreening in the middle of a blowjob would be more than a little annoying...
        • And think of all the viruses you could get from her! Hmm....I think I'll get a model where all the hardware is Linux or *BSD compatible.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by derGoldstein (1494129)

            I think I'll get a model where all the hardware is Linux or *BSD compatible.

            But then you're stuck with a rather crappy UI, and who wants that on a woman...

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by froggymana (1896008)
              The UI for Linux isn't bad. Its a lot better than Windows IMHO. There is always room for improvement too though. Personally though, the UI of a terminal doesn't get much better than what its at now.
              • Of which "the UI" do you speak?

              • by arth1 (260657)

                Oh, I think there's a great difference in the quality of terminals. How do they behave if you log in from somwhere with ISO-8859-1 to somewhere with UTF-8, for example? And how big and fast are the scroll buffers? Will it subject you to unreadable dark-blue-on-black text, or can you choose an enhanced colour set replacement that is readable? Can you search scroll buffers? Or save them? Are full VT emulations supported? Does it behave well when hooked up to a serial? Which might be 9600-E-7-1? Does

            • by V!NCENT (1105021)

              Excuse me, but KDE 4.5 kicks the shit out of Mac OS X' Disney UI, unless you're a pedo...

            • by mcgrew (92797) *

              I see you haven't run Linux in YEARS. Try it again, I like Mandriva's interface far more than Windows', and I'm even starting to like Windows 7.

              Well, I was until last night whe I downloaded patches and the damned thing rebooted without asking. You call that a good interface? I don't. The damned computer shouldn't do anything I don't specifically tell it to.

              Actually, having a woman who would do what I told her without backtalk would be pretty cool... come to think of it, Windows' interfacs IS like a woman. I

          • by arth1 (260657)

            And think of all the viruses you could get from her! Hmm....I think I'll get a model where all the hardware is Linux or *BSD compatible.

            She'll never go down on you...

        • by camperslo (704715)

          No wonder those Mac guys smile suspiciously... they've been using Time Machine [wikipedia.org] to go back and relive those favorite moments.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Fluffeh (1273756)

        a woman who continually pauses, buffers, and freezes as she is talking to you... ...damn, that actually sounds pretty awesome!

        Pretty awesome?! I can think of a couple of situations where that certainly isn't the best idea...

        Oh yeah, keep going!...
        *pauses*
        Don't stop... That's the one...
        *buffering*
        What?! No, keep going! Don't stop now! Now NOW!
        *blue screen*
        Fine. I'll just go have a wank...

      • by sorak (246725)

        I propose forcing women to think like computers instead of like women. They would be much easier to interact with.

        What? are you crazy? that would be horrible....Just imagine trying to have a conversation with a woman who continually pauses, buffers, and freezes as she is talking to you... ...damn, that actually sounds pretty awesome!

        No, it would be like dating William Shatner.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zero__Kelvin (151819)

      "I propose forcing women to think like computers instead of like women. They would be much easier to interact with."

      I guess you either haven't dealt with a women and/or used Windows lately.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tomhudson (43916)

      I propose forcing women to think like computers instead of like women. They would be much easier to interact with.

      So logically, until you lose that beer gut, learn to pick your socks up off the floor, do laundry and dishes and clean up after you "help" by cooking and leaving a god-forsaken mess, and ask for directions when you're lost, you fail the unit testing process. Better be ready to go f$ck yourself :-)

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Think that through again. "Three hours of sports equals one instance of sex. You have watched six hours; therefore sex is not necessary for two more days." Or, on a more misogynist note, how about when it takes you eight reboots to get her to make the damned baloney sandwich you need for work today?
    • Imagine a Beowulf ... oh wait ...
    • by Eivind (15695)
      I realize it's meant as a joke. But really. Just give it a rest already, okay ? It's not funny. There's plenty of women around slashdot and other nerdy ventures. And there'd be even more, if not for stupid comments like that.
      • Sorry guys, it's my fault that more women aren't here. My bad. I didn't realize I had such an effect on humorless women.

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @05:32PM (#33503410)
    They bring us free porn on a daily basis!
    • But a noob would only get crappy, low-res, old porn. If you want the good stuff you have to know what you're doing. Same with women.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by camperslo (704715)

      Be careful with those warm, fuzzy computer moments. The oxytocin [wikipedia.org] that triggers may make you trust [scientificamerican.com] them too much. Think of it as a new sort of user vulnerability.

  • by Idbar (1034346) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @05:33PM (#33503422)
    Like I needed to know how to improve my relationship with machines. What I need is a map to get out of the basement and interact with real people!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @06:20PM (#33503852)

      1- Start doing some exercise (Say running instead of crawling to the refrigerator)
      2- Now you can jog for a few minutes a day(You don't need to go outside just)
      3- Start spending every weekend climbing some mountain
      (By this point you are only ugly at worst, it is okay)
      4- Do some muscular training (Women dig muscle even on an ugly man - just don't overdo it and become some muscle champion, women don't like small dicks)
      5- Get or change job to one that lists female employees (We can't hope to get you into a bar successfully yet)
      6- Force yourself to talk to the female employees (Start from the ugly ones just so you remember you don't want to fall for a coworker, they are only the last option if you can't succeed otherwise, the friend zone is your friend. And at this point you are likely to bring sexual harassment charges to yourself.)
      (By now you should understand women a bit better)
      7- Meet some woman you aren't going to see again (Say a fellow mountain climber) Talk her into a dinner.
      8- After she has declined your advancements note at which point it happened and try to fix what you think might have failed. Remember to use what you learned of women thought from your coworkers, what kind of hair or dressing fits you better and the like.
      (Volume is important to account for standard deviation, be sure to use equivalent lines for every single woman you meet. If every single woman dumps you before starting you have probably missed something in the previous steps.)
      9- IF NOT DINNER GOTO 7
      10 - "Damn it worked! It has never worked before! What am I supposed to do?" Nothing. Just talk to her and follow a similar debugging process. Here the goal isn't sleeping with her(That would be an advanced student bonus) you want her to repeat the meetings while knowing you are romantically interested in her. If you are put into the friend zone don't dump her, use as woman thought database material.
      11 - UNTIL KISS GOTO 7 (Sorry)
      12 - (Now you are pretty close, assuming you didn't force it, if you did you might be close anyways) Tell her you think you might feel romantically inclined towards her. Try to repeat the kissing experience as many times as possible. Then use as many low(but legal) tricks as you can(wine, long late dinners, I missed the last train) to run the final mile. Women can smell your insecurity long after they are into you. It is a lot easier to nail them when one is not an insecure nerd. Remember to bring condoms but not the whole box and if you think you might come in milliseconds that first time practice self-control techniques at home. Also practice for the opposite situation or at least fake an orgasm after about 30 minutes since penetration. Women aren't as tight as hands. Don't try anything but missionary position until the second sex date and don't ever cum on eyes tits mouth unless she asks you to or you are sure apologies will work.
      13 - It's not the end, you might break up with her, don't despair, troubleshoot repeat and rinse. You should have a lot more self esteem after sex with a woman who wasn't a sex worker.
      14 - ???
      15 - Profit

    • by camperslo (704715)

      What I need is a map to get out of the basement and interact with real people!

      Still, when you get out you'll remember all those things you read online on how to treat people. [theonion.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I tried leaving the basement once, but there was a Grue on the other side of the door. Apparently, the map I downloaded was from an old teletype machine.
    • Don't. Last Sat I actually went out to ride my bike along the river walk and I got like 7 mosquito bites on my arms, and I'm kind of sensitive with these texan mosquitoes. Now I have big itchy bumps. I might not be used to their bite because that never happened when I lived in Chile.

      Lesson: Don't go out. At least not near river banks ;)
    • by oljanx (1318801)
      I followed that map once. It lead me out of the basement, into a fabulous relationship. Through childbirth, into a mortgage, and right back into the basement.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      If you're talking about the basement room with a blue ceiling and a fusion lamp, relatively few of us have gone upstairs.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      At the risk of a "troll" mod (some people have NO sense of humor), A Nerd's Guide to Getting Laid [slashdot.org]

  • by Spazntwich (208070) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @05:34PM (#33503426)

    Guess this lowers the theoretical barriers to the sexbot market.

    We'll see robot girlfriends purposefully installing Microsoft software for the plausible deniability upon contracting a virus.

    Wish I could quarantine my W32.Herpes/Worm. :'(

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by d3ac0n (715594)

      Sexbot? Bah. I'd rather have a Persocom anyday. Not only are they cuter, they will do the laundry and cook.

      • Depends on where you live I guess. After googling up these persocoms, I wouldn't be surprised if relations with one of those snagged you some nifty puritanical child molestation charges.

  • Clifford, stop being such a Nass!
  • by scourfish (573542) <scourfish&yahoo,com> on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @05:43PM (#33503530)
    I'll throw it down a flight of stairs and give them these black and blue smudges on their LCD screens every now and then; but I only do it because I love them, and they have to learn that when I say "bitch, automake me a Makefile," I expect it now and nothing should be reporting to standard error. I'm that machine's user because it wasn't good enough for anybody else.
  • And you think they remember past events now. if they were like computers you would have to pray for it to crash. Queue Brand jokes.
  • Most of the time, I want to kick my computer's ass. My laptop has been raised over my head for smashing many times, but fortunately for my wallet, I haven't followed through.

    If it were a woman, it would've been dumped long ago. Probably on the first date.

    If it doesn't involve typing, I actually prefer to use the internet on my phone over the computer. Way less frustrating.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I once tossed a desktop in a river. The water was brackish, so it was fresh at times and salt at others. I fished the computer out after a few weeks. After letting it dry, I put it in from of the other computers. I threatened to do the same to the other computers.

      I have not had a problem since with any machine. I am often told that the computer problem just goes away when I go near other people's computers to fix them. I think the computers got the message. Piss me off and I will toss you in the river.

      The q

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Killjoy_NL (719667)

        I work in a school and from many years ago I remember the best (imho) moments.

        1. In a classroom with computers, 1 mouse broke, I nailed it to the wall at the head of the room to show the other mice what I would do to them if they also broke down, for the last 3 years in that classroom no mice broke.

        2. One of the administrative staff was having a problem with her computer, she called me and I came downstairs.
        She showed me what she did and sure enough, the machine gave an error message.

        Me: Ok, do you treat th

  • Sounds right to me (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Beerdood (1451859)
    I'd say the opposite is true as well - when your computer isn't being helpful you'd also treat it more like an annoying person. When a certain paperclip showed up on a certain program, I'd say out loud "Oh would you FUCK OFF already!!?!".
  • ... extrapolate social interactions onto non-sentient objects. Would you like me to:

    1) Find some friends for you on facebook?
    2) Order you some books on interpersonal relationships from Amazon.com?
    3) Club CN over the head with a baseball bat, so he'll stop trying to shoehorn 'social' interactions into my goddamn UI.

    (And, yes: This is a gross generalization, but not totally untrue.)

  • ... they hate it when you do that.
    • ...ditto for women.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by GrumblyStuff (870046)

        Nah, what they hate and what they like alternates in a completely random fashion.

        Except for clothes shopping. They may say they hate it but that doesn't stop them from inspecting every garment in the store.

  • So if people think of their computers as people why do they not care about their computers getting viruses? Some people are ignorant, some are lazy and don't care that their computer/friend has a virus. Some think that it is not their problem! There is clearly a type of person in our society who receive minimal respect for the work they do - in fact they are treated worse than animals!

    People who go around giving STDs to people knowingly are prosecuted - why not people who do the same with computers?

    Why w

    • by hedwards (940851)
      Eh, to be honest, the research strikes me as being somewhat sketchy. Of course people are more likely to invest time in optimizing a program that's been useful previously. Why on Earth would you waste any time doing that if the application isn't useful. It's not about thinking of it as a person, it's the fact that if the program isn't helpful you've probably got better things to do, like finding an application which does what you need it to do.
  • God, I didn't think of it before, but i'm horrible.

    Much like homeless people asking for change, I'll ignore emails.
    Hot Chicks? Can't touch them in person or online.
    Both people and computers make me mad sometimes, enough that I want to hit them, but i don't.
    Human & computer error messages are hard to understand most the time.

    um, i'd write more, but my computer is looking at me funny.

  • people think of their computers as something like human beings.

    Perhaps these are the same people who say 'thankyou' to automatic doors?
  • It was just a feedback-loop where after pushing some buttons you receive a (audio)visual/sensory reward or result for pushing the buttons in a certain sequence.

    As a programmer, you are paid to generate a certain audiovisual result for someone who has learned to ask other people to learn to push the buttons in the right sequence to come to the sensory result (s)he desires.

  • From TFA :-

    Participants in one experiment interacted with a program that said something like "Most PCs these days have at 2MB of memory. Being an older model I only have 1MB. What do you feel inadequate about?"

    My emphasis. How old is this news exactly?
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      They've known about anthropomorphism for a LONG time. You never cursed your car and called it names when it wouldn't start? This is the same thing.

  • A little think called agency. We assign human like qualities to inanimate or even animate creatures. It's pretty much how wolves were domesticated.

Recent research has tended to show that the Abominable No-Man is being replaced by the Prohibitive Procrastinator. -- C.N. Parkinson

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