Panelists Austan Goolsbee and Angela Duckworth consult with contestants during the Wheel of Maximum Danger round. (Photo: Lucy Sutton)
A study of Roomba owners by the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2009 found that at least a few people considered their appliances to be as close as family members. Effects like light, motion and especially sound can lead us to sympathize with an appliance as mundane as a vacuum. That means that product designers are not just focused on how your appliances work; they make deliberate design choices to amplify the consumer’s emotional connection to a hunk of plastic.
But can a robot inspire passion?
The panelists for our “Passion Plays” episode are: Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, who interned alongside the most famous intern in our country’s political history (and also appeared on an episode of Freakonomics Radio called “How to Get More Grit in Your Life“); Austan Goolsbee, economist at the University of Chicago and former White House economist, who collects movie ticket stubs; and Keisha Zollar, actor, comedian, host of the “Applying It Liberally,” who is the proud owner of a semicolon.