The day is coming when human beings will no longer need actual physical contact. If trends continue, we will be able to get it all from social media.
Three MIT students have created the Like-A-Hug, a “wearable social media vest” that inflates whenever someone “likes” a photo, video or status update on your Facebook wall, “thereby allowing us to feel the warmth, encouragement, support, or love that we feel when we receive hugs,” according to inventor Melissa Kit Chow.
Since hugs are intended to go both ways, the students also developed a means for users to return the favor by squeezing the vest and deflating it.
This development comes on the heels of the Kissenger, a device that — despite its decidedly unromantic-sounding name — allows long-distance lovers to send virtual smooches.
What’s the next logical product to emerge from this line of thinking? I don’t think I want to know.
I’m also not sure I want a hug every time someone “likes” one of my Facebook posts. And no offense to my Facebook friends, but I’m not sure I want to give all of them the ability to give me a hug, virtual though it may be. I mean, I’m an affectionate guy, and I’m choosy about the people to whom I grant Facebook friend requests, but couldn’t we develop something a little less intimate? Say, a virtual chest bump or high-five?
I’m no Luddite — I appreciate all the good things that social media can provide — but I believe I’ll stick to real hugs from real people, and only for worthy reasons. Not for posting a picture of what I made for dinner.