The Kiss of Technology

A few years ago, I wanted to send a quote via an app that was equipped with the kind of word recognition technology that they all have these days. I’m referring to those automatic suggestions that, without asking, offer ready-made concepts and insert them right into your sentences. The quote was “Your thanks, a kiss”, but the machine automatically turned “kiss” (in German, kuss) into “must” (in German, muss). It simply didn’t know the word “kiss”! And so I kept trying to get the right message across: “Well, I don’t mean must, I mean must, … no, the word with k … “. We laughed and then we felt a little pity. The poor machine didn’t know what kisses are. And we started to think about it. Gratitude cannot be a “must”, never. Expressing gratitude is voluntary, something that arises inside us as a feeling, and only then is it real. Thank you, machine, for this little excursion into the essence of gratitude.

And then it seemed to me that the realm of the machine is not unlike a realm of nature, in which there are just as many coincidences that cannot be explained on their own. Failures, mutations, perhaps even variants—just like in nature. The machine world has windows for the light or builds bridges to it. Or maybe, seen the other way around: finding meaning can also happen in technological creations. The “kiss” of technology helped me to see this world a little more warmly.

Translation Eliza Rozeboom
Image Singapore; Photo: Victor R via unsplash

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