Nicolas Nova, sifting through examples of “magical thinking” in technology use:

Obadia also points out that although the concept of “superstition” is rooted in a condescending othering of “backward“ or non-Western modes of thinking, it does not mean it should be abandoned.

Examining these examples in a pragmatic way, it appears people will sometimes ascribe agency to devices when they have difficulty understanding how those devices work. And this agency giving is part of a domestication process of technology. (Sometimes, Nova argues, people’s ignorance is maintained on purpose, and “magic” is used as part of marketing discourse.)

What’s interesting in this behaviour – giving agency to technology that does not behave in predictable ways – is that it is almost never leveraged on purpose. It behaves like an unwritten script for the object, one that no designer has anticipated. It’s revealing of the wildness of machines beneath the domesticating efforts of code and design.