Our digital companions are an ever more intimate part of our lives. In Japan, they are already considered a substitute for friends, thus rendering quarrels and disagreement, as experienced in real friendships, passé. Although these friends have only existed virtually to date, that is also set to change: with sex robots that are more beautiful than any human. Companies like True Companion are busy working on it. Anthropologist and robo-ethicist Kathleen Richardson, who teaches at De Montfort University in Leicester, England, warns against this development. She fears that people could lose their ability to feel empathy.
The German transmedia project Homo Digitalis wants to evaluate the effects of such technologies on humanity. To this end, the television stations BR, ARTE and ORF have developed a playful, yet scientific, future test together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO. It is still possible for anyone to get involved until May. Preliminary results indicate that one in five respondents would go to bed with a sex robot. The eponymous web series can be seen every Thursday evening on Bavarian television (BR) and at any time in station’s media library .