In this essay let's consider the companionship possible in Being-with TrueCompanion's Roxxxy; let's do this through the language of Martin Heidegger.
Roxxxy debuted during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in 2010; but across the street in the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo. Roxxxy's creator, Douglas Hines, was an artificial intelligence engineer at Bell Labs and in an article Hines tells us, "I had a friend who passed away in 9/11 [....] I promised myself I would create a program to store his personality, and that became the foundation for Roxxxy True Companion." Hines insists that Roxxxy is not simply a tool for sex, but a companion. In Heideggerian terms Roxxxy is not equipment—which is defined by its readiness-to-hand.
Being ready-to-hand is typically how we experience the world: objects in the world reveal themselves to us as available for the tasks with which we occupy ourselves. This pre-occupation is problematic because it is an inauthentic way of being in the world. Unlike the current Occupations, to be pre-occupied is to see the world only in terms of the projects that can be completed by the objects we find in the world. It is only when the tools we are using fail us that those tools reveal themselves for what they are: we are witnessing their presence-at-hand.
The uncanny valley hypothesis proposes that as a robot approaches near-perfect replication of humans these robots become abject to human perception. Would this mean that as Hines perfects his Roxxxies they will cease to be ready-to-hand and shift to being present-at-hand? But, as Heidegger points out, just as an object reveals its presence in this failing, we frequently and rapidly shift our reception of that object as now being part of another project: it is now an object to be fixed—yet another (re)iteration of being ready-to-hand.
We find ourselves in the world through our moods—as when a doctor asks, “How do you find yourself today? Feeling better?” Our relations to the world are mediated by the moods in which we conduct our affairs in the world and in this sense we have concern for the world. The world reveals itself as itself (not as some project or means to an end) when our machinations seize-up. In this revealing, are we met by a mutual wonder? Could this be the kind of companionship that Roxxxy provides?