Does a simulated conversation constitute a social transaction in digital Asia?

Emma Sloane

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In my previous blog post “Hikikomori, AI Girlfriends, and VR Porn Booths. Why is one of the most digitally connected countries also the most socially isolated?” I drew on some examples that point to Japan being a socially isolated population, despite being one of the most digitally connected. 

In this blog post, I will delve into this topic further by discussing the popularity of dating simulators and consider if these simulated conversations equate to a social transaction in the digital sphere.

Athique discusses the commodification of communication through the digital economy, stating that“the larger implication is that, within a platform economy, all communicative actions be regarded as social transactions.”(Athique, 2019.)

Athique also states that“It is this orchestrated commercialization of sociability itself that constitutes the signal achievement: an expansive marketization that establishes a new tidemark for the commodification process,”(Athique, 2019.) If we look at…

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