Volume 19, 2018
Facing the Digital Partner
A Phenomenological Analysis of Digital Otherness
The aim of this work is to understand what kind of “other” a digital being can be, or the kind of “otherness” that can be attributed to a digital being. Digital technologies are emerging in our surroundings, and they are so close to us that they can be in intimate relationships with us. There are products like Gatebox, which are designed to produce digital entities that are not merely part of the surroundings, but that are also partners with which (or with whom) humans have relationships. In studying the kind of “otherness” these digital entities can have, the paper highlights the effects of different designs on the types of relations that are possible. Following a phenomenological point of view, the elements required to have a form of “otherness” similar to that of human beings is analyzed by focusing mainly on the resistance opposed by the “other.” According to these elements, the possible relations in which robots can engage is determined according to their specific design.