Charmed by a digital caricature of ourselves, we’re also distracted from the fact that we’re not doing anything to make the world a better place for humans to flourish. Things like Replika, as well-intentioned as they might be, essentially function as a way to acclimate individuals to our brave new world of social isolation rather than changing the structure which creates the problem in the first place. C. Wright Mills wrote in “The Professional Ideology of Social Pathologists” that there’s a certain class (we might call them the professional managerial class) that defines social change in the most attenuated terms, mostly in terms of adapting individuals to the society that they’ve created for them. Instead of changing society to meet the needs of human nature, they create ad hoc ways (typically products, either technological or psychological) of forcing us to conform to their inhumane culture. Things like Replika are attempts to fine-tune the human personality to passing progressive social fashions of the day.
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