How pleasantly curious it is to observe the human preference for synthetics over organics.

We glance over the warnings on our processed food and somehow convince ourselves that the chemicals don’t enter our bodies. The toxins, we think, can’t be all that toxic.

This aspect of modern human nature is the driving force behind the Digit market.

Digits are imitation humans, and we are rapidly growing to prefer them over their organic counterparts. We prefer them over ourselves.

Digits can be purchased from Digit Farms in almost any corner of the world. After chemical processing and some cognitive training, Digits are left to roam a fenced area like livestock. They can be made according to the default models or ordered with personal specifications. Legal waivers strongly advise against ordering a model for solely immoral purposes, for hard labor, or to replace a lost loved one. This is in the interest of both the customer and the model. The waivers also warn against overstimulation of the product, exposure to extreme temperatures, and other such risks.

Male Digits are devoid of testosterone. Females are infertile. Infants, children, and adolescents come housebroken.

The natural birth rate has reached an all-time low as more and more women opt to be consumers instead of mothers. Childbirth is a horror of darker times.

Men find the female models much more generous and consenting than human women. Also, with regularly updated mental capacities and artificial aesthetics, what’s not to like?

Many a childhood romance has taken place between a human youth and a Digit of the same age design. However, as Digits do not grow older, these affairs must remain temporary so as to avoid inappropriate interactions.

They are difficult creatures to ignore, with smooth impenetrable flesh and glossy features. Their only real flaw is the strained manner with which they conduct themselves; stiff joints, clenched jaws. It does make them seem so unhappy.

This is never brought to attention, though, as asking a Digit about its feelings would be as purposeful as reciting poetry to a toaster. Digits are works of art, not agents of emotion.

I’ll present to you an ordinary scenario: a dinner party at which several Digits are mixed in with the crowd. They have been trained to contribute to small talk and exchange meaningless compliments.

It takes place in the household of a well-to-do family amid the polite chatter and mild discomfort of any adult social gathering. Glasses are clinking. Husbands are good-naturedly complaining about their jobs.

From the corner of the color-coordinated living room, a high-pitched whining sound grows in volume. The guests begin to search for the source.

A young woman in a cocktail dress quickly identifies it as a Digit model, a new edition of female design that managed to sneak away and cram itself between the wall and the back of a leather chair. There it crouches, wide-eyed and emitting the shrill sound of electrical feedback through some orifice of its face or head.

The hosts, an older married couple, step in to address the problem. However, as soon as the man reaches out to tamper with the model, it opens its mouth to a jaw-breaking gape and begins shrieking. One continuous human-like scream mingles with the feedback. Several guests, irritated, exit to the terrace.

The Digit twists itself like a dying arachnid, folding inwards at the knees and elbows, curling its fingers and snapping its artificial bones in the process. The hosts recognize this as a common method of self-destruction. They tuck the model closer to the wall and shove the chair forward. A crunching sound emerges. Shortly, the scream is reduced to a static crackle, at which point the party resumes. Guests return to mingle and joke about the incident before quickly forgetting it over alcohol and finger-food. The Digit lies in a heap of hair, fabric, and limp appendages several feet away.

This is not an isolated incident. This is what the waivers are for.