The divide between digital and hand-written content could be blurred even further with the launch of a clever little robot who will turn your tweets into hand-written letters.

So, here’s the concept, snack company Kind have teamed up with technology company Bond to get more messages of support out to troops during Military Appreciation Month. By using #thankskindly anyone can send a tweet-sized message to Bond’s robot, which will then take your digitised message and add a “human touch” so it can be sent on to serving soldiers.

Whilst I could go into a long essay about human/robot developments and how hard it is to get my head around humans creating robots to do unique-to-human jobs, I think there is just one questions that need addressing above all…

Is digital content less trusted/valued than hand-written?

It’s hard to speak for the generations that came before and those that will come after us, but as a 22-year-old in today’s society, I think the hand written text has taken on a new role since the general replacement of pen and paper with keyboards and touch screens.

When I think about everyday situations where I write instead of type, I can list only two: putting events in my diary and signing my name. Both of these actions have a certain finality to them; a signature adds value/approval to something; a book signed by its author can increase in price dramatically and a name at the end of a contact is what seals the deal. When I think about modern society’s relationship with handwriting in that perspective, it makes sense that it may seem to hold more value. The letter-writing robot in question isn’t a famous author and isn’t signing a contract, so there must be more as to why we would need to develop a machine to do an innately human task.

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With most peoples inboxes bursting with spam and everyone having witnessed online trolls, it’s not just our everyday relationship with handwriting that’s widening the gap between validity and digital content. It seems less human to us when we see type; it’s hard to assign a face to the font whereas with handwriting we construct a personality from the style of lettering (although this is arguably just an illusion).

We all have the perception that it takes more time and effort and therefore care to produce something by hand; a common misconception that just isn’t true but derives from society’s hang-ups with digital content.

Personally I think that sending appreciation letters to soldiers is a great idea, and whilst I’m all for the advancement of robotics I think it is time we get over our hangups with digital content. Rather than creating an obscure reverse digital production system that further disjoints our view on digital validity, we need to change our mindsets and embrace the importance and power of digital content.

 

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