North Texas Daily

Computer hugs shouldn’t be your main squeeze

Computer hugs shouldn’t be your main squeeze

February 19
22:30 2013

American ingenuity has always had a knack for conjuring up the most unnecessary solutions to first-world problems. Between a pair of one million dollar sneakers that have been literally dipped in gold or toilet paper that has twitter feeds printed onto it, the definition of excess is being pushed to lofty lengths.

Undeniably, there are conveniences that have benefited society and solved real problems, but you can’t help but wonder how some of these products get made without at least a few thousand people buying them. But here is where I draw the line.

The invention is what looks like a blue life vest, and when someone on Facebook likes your status, the vest will inflate to simulate receiving a hug.

It doesn’t stop there, though. If, by some bizarre twist of fate, the liker of your status is also delusional enough to have this vest, you can squeeze the vest back, and “hug” them in return.

What’s really unsettling is the video that tries to pitch this to you.

It opens some shots of trees, radiating with hope for the life you may have with this product.  It describes a utopian universe, where “people wear them everywhere.” It even cuts to a man looking downcast in a coffee shop, wearing the vest.

This brave pioneer is having a rough day, but luckily, someone on Facebook liked a picture of a bridge he took. So, instead of wallowing in his loneliness, he is instead greeted with the warm embrace of a vest pumped with air.

Certainly, social media has its limits with personal connectivity, but will this fill the void?

Instead of meeting a person to show them a picture of a bridge, you’re now able to keep up with your ‘busy’ lifestyle and receive warm fuzzies on the go? Is this the answer for all the coffee shop-goers who are too timid to speak to the person sitting next to them?

With cell phones, we’ve really managed to create this bubble around ourselves.

We busy ourselves and distract ourselves, to the point where speaking to a person near you purely out of proximity confuses people. Elevator rides consist of people turning their heads down and pretending to text or check the time, and public spaces are filled with eight different people having eight different conversations.

We’re able to communicate across enormous distances, but unable to converse with the person two feet away from us. Conversation isn’t dead, but the small talk to meet new people seems to be narrowing as we focus more on our bubble.

But it’s probably nothing a pair of golden sneakers couldn’t fix.

Matt Wood is a pre-journalism freshman. He can be reached at m.wood0904@gmail.com.

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