Empathy, androids and 'authentic experience'

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Androids of the future will require the capacity for bodily experience, in addition to specific cognitive proficiencies. Interpersonal experiences, such as intimacy, empathy and felicity, provide the crucial sense of solidarity and connection that sustains relationships between humans. This study explores relationships between perceptual experience and perceptual competency and discusses implications for the design of people-oriented androids. Findings from an exploratory study of inter-personal perception indicate there is no relationship between objective performance and subjective experience based on thin slices of actor behaviour. However, correlations between experiences indicate that empathy and intimacy are linked and distinct from felicity. Analysis of gender effects indicates gender-distributed roles for empathy and intimacy. These imply design specifications for future androids that may be required to form relationships with people. Some conjectures on the phenomenology of the empathic and the moral android of the future are explored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-428
Number of pages10
JournalConnection science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006


  • empathy
  • androids
  • gender
  • interpersonal perception
  • relational experience

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