Uncanny likeness achieved, but sorry, the robot still looks freaky

japanese robot twins.jpg

There may well be such a thing as too close a match, judging by the above photograph. The displays in Madame Tussaud’s aren’t fantastic either, but there is just something a bit eerie about robots that are identical twins to their role models.

This particular robotic doppelganger is called a Geminoid, presented by the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute in Japan last month. The skin moves over the underlying structure, the lips move as it talks and the doll blinks its latex eyelids.

This robot doll perfectly illustrates the “uncanny valley” hypothesis: while at first we are attracted to the idea of robots becoming more humanlike, what happens when they become very human-like is that our response switches to revulsion.

Good news for C3PO then, as it doesn’t sound like he’ll be replaced on the popularity scale by some hotshot human lookalike any time soon. It seems we are better off keeping our robots more machine-like than human, or it all just gets a little bit uncomfortable. It’s not known why we feel this way – theories include us being too strict on the comparison to the real deal when the likeness gets close. Alternatively, it could have something to do with our instinct to shy away from things that look dead, to protect ourselves from disease.

Back to the drawing board, then.

[via The Daily Telegraph]



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