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Why human-like robots are creepy

| | July 19, 2017
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The robot revolution is on the horizon…One report says that they’ll be commonplace by 2025. In another case, a professor claims humans of the future are bound to lose their virginity to them, to avoid awkward social ramifications which could otherwise be experienced.

There’s an important aspect missing from all of these conversations. Ever notice that human-like dolls are creepy? As robots become more and more like us, the Uncanny Valley theory takes hold. This is the theory that the more human-like an artificial creation becomes, the more disquieted we feel, until we are utterly repulsed by it.

Studies have shown that they’re more relatable when they have certain, human-like qualities.  So how can we design robots that we’ll enjoy interacting with, rather than be disturbed by?

Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori first noticed this phenomenon in 1970. He coined the phrase uncanny valley and even developed a chart for it.

px Mori Uncanny Valley svg

According to cognitive scientist Ayse Saygin of UC-San Diego, little is known about the phenomenon. “This is one of those cases where we’re at the very beginning of understanding it,” she said. “I think the key is that when you make appearances human-like, you raise expectations for the brain. When those expectations are not met, then you have the problem.”

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: As Robots Become More Human-Like, We’re More Likely to Reject Them

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