Being Riajuu: A Phenomenological Analysis of Sentimental Relationships with “Digital Others”

Nicola Liberati*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this paper is to study the possibility of sentimental relationships between human and digital beings. We are interested in what kind of “other” a digital being can be for a human subject because it is the first step in understanding how our intimate lives will be shaped by the introduction of new digital technologies. Today computer technologies are growing fast, and they are becoming pervasive. They are intertwining their digital content with every aspect of our everyday lives and they are placing themselves as our “companions”. This co-existence is so tight that it is possible to think of sentimental relationships growing between users and these devices. We will analyse these relationships from a phenomenological perspective by introducing the Japanese term riajuu [ ] which tackles the problem of having a sentimental and intimate relationship with a digital being. Moreover, thanks to Husserl’s phenomenology, we will show how it is important to discern the digital content of the “other” from how this entity relates to the subject. We will show if the subject can build with a digital other an intimate relationship even when users know it is not a human person they are dealing with.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLove and Sex with Robots
Subtitle of host publication3rd International Conference, LSR 2017, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsAdrian David Cheok, David Levy
Number of pages14
Volume10715 LNAI
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-76369-9
ISBN (Print)9783319763682
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event3rd International Conference on Love and Sex with Robots, LSR 2017 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 19 Dec 201720 Dec 2017
Conference number: 3

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume10715 LNAI
ISSN (Print)03029743
ISSN (Electronic)16113349


Conference3rd International Conference on Love and Sex with Robots, LSR 2017
Abbreviated titleLSR 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Human-robot intimate relationships
  • Phenomenology
  • Postphenomenology
  • Riajuu

Cite this