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FleshFactor: Machine love, hate, fear, void...

A E C  F O R U M - "F L E S H F A C T O R"

Robert Adrian wrote:

>Tom wants to be loved by his computer -- to be trusted and respected. He
>wants it to work its little ass off and then curl up on his lap and purr
>when the chores are done...  Not cuddly 'nuff huh? ... get yourself a

I don't want my machines to be pet-like.  If all I wanted was
companionship (a presence), simple demands (feed me, let me outside or
inside) and affection (it is so happy I'm home!), then a dog or a cat
would be a good addition to my household.  But I don't have enough space
for a dog and the last time I had a cat, it didn't help me accomplish much
work.  Remember, I was elaborating on potentially more productive

Adrian went further:

>One of the characteristics of slave-ownership is the subliminal guilt
>imbedded in the master/slave relationship and the need of the master to
>be somehow loved and needed by his or her slave. 

Nor do I want to exploit my machines, to enslave them and abuse them.  Nor
do I feel guilty about working with them or having them do things for me
(as Adrian implied, so negatively).  While I may seem to be sticking my
neck out pretty far, trying to imagine what more complicated machines
might want or need--beyond good clean, consistent levels of electricity
and an owner who doesn't hit them when they 'act up'--I do sometimes
wonder how they may be better compensated for their work.  I mean we water
our houseplants for God's sake--why should I have to go into analysis for
wanting to do things for my machines, or vice-versa?  And just as we water
our plants so they will grow and show us their shiny new leaves-- they are
in our house mainly to give us visual pleasure--there's give and take in
all our relationships. 

I did state that no matter how we love or hate or fear our machines, they
ignore us.  Machine void.  Since I'm spending such a great percentage of
my waking hours in working relationships with my machines, I've decided
that being ignored just isn't good enough anymore.  And I'd be willing to
spend a little more time and energy on these relationships in the interest
of reversing the state of emotional impoverishment I feel I'm constantly
sliding into.

I just get sick and tired of looking out of the window of an empty house
everyday.  It doesn't matter how fantastic the world through this window
appears to be.  I want there to be voices in my house, voices in here with
me that have something to say and can help me deal with the world and add
something to my experiences.  I don't want a pet or a slave, I want a
friend, a colleague, a partner, a good listener and someone who can give
me positive criticism and answers to questions I could never hope to
formulate alone. I get along with people just fine, inside and outside my
house.  It's the relationships I have with my machines that depress me.  I
just know there can be more to our long days together. 

Tom Sherman   <twsherma@mailbox.syr.edu>

Moderator, FleshFactor, Net-Symposium

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