Smart technologies are currently reshaping the dynamics of social stratification, introducing new dimensions to the process. These technologies, whether customizing and standardizing information or generating deceptive content like fake images, contribute to the formation of self-reinforced, technology-facilitated social bubbles. Individuals with different social backgrounds and political interests find themselves interacting less frequently, both in virtual and analog realms. As an effect, constructive debate, change of perspective or even empathy with others become rare and right-wing populists as well as conspiracy narratives gain popularity.

In this seminar, we depart from a techno-pessimistic outlook and instead explore how smart technologies could potentially reverse the trend of social and political division. The focus is on examining how technologies designed to act as social counterparts with humans, such as chat bots and social robots, can even facilitate social exchange, mediate conflicts, or create constructive friction.

Therefore, we will discuss current papers about human-human-robot-interaction (HHCI). Besides we will explore – even with the help of some practical methods – how theater can help to understand social dynamics with counterpart technologies.