Thursday, November 23, 2017

Androids (a continuing discussion)

You need to read this article first: How to Hire Fake Friends and Family: In Japan, you can pay an actor to impersonate your relative, spouse, coworker, or any kind of acquaintance.

Here's the open:
Money may not be able to buy love, but here in Japan, it can certainly buy the appearance of love—and appearance, as the dapper Ishii Yuichi insists, is everything. As a man whose business involves becoming other people, Yuichi would know. The handsome and charming 36-year-old is on call to be your best friend, your husband, your father, or even a mourner at your funeral.

His 8-year-old company, Family Romance, provides professional actors to fill any role in the personal lives of clients. With a burgeoning staff of 800 or so actors, ranging from infants to the elderly, the organization prides itself on being able to provide a surrogate for almost any conceivable situation.

What's astonishing about this service is that women hire actors to play the role of fathers for their children. For years. They act as grooms at weddings. They fill multi-year, complex roles. With this service, it's possible to create an entirely different backstory for your life, with physical people--not online trickery--filling the roles.

It made me think about the android discussion we had a few weeks ago, and whether androids would be valued as relationship partners. I think they would be highly valued, in certain situations. An example from the article:
The women typically say that in a real relationship, you’re slowly building trust. It takes years to create a strong connection. For them, it’s a lot of hassle and disappointment. Imagine investing five years with someone and then they break up with you. It’s just easier to schedule two hours per week to interact with an ideal boyfriend. There’s no conflict, no jealousy, no bad habits. Everything is perfect.

I think it's easy to say that an emotional interaction with an android, or an actor, is a symptom of how many things are broken in our society, and how substantial human relationships are the fabric of society, etc.

Here's a radical proposal, though: maybe they're not.

Maybe society is evolving, as it always does, and what we consider relationships are evolving, as they always do. Maybe lots of people are broken, and this will just be a different way, a new way, to try and heal some of the damage.

Site Meter