Do you think my computer (or yours) is a social actor?
In my human-computer interaction class, we are reading the latest research on this subject. The definitive studies came out of a book called, "The Media Equation" by Reeves & Nass (available on amazon.com) which showed that people actually do interact with computers as if they are another human (or social actor). Amazing--we love the praise we get from computers--we prefer male to female named computers, and we prefer not to hurt our computer's feelings (I didn't know mine had any!). For those of us on our computers all day long, this is important to consider. Maybe I should name my laptop Betsy or Bob. Come to think of it, I should name her Emma. My daughter, Maggie, has always wanted a baby sister named Emma--this should do the trick!