Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Uncanny Valley

Recently started reading Issac Asimov again. Knowing a bit more about robotics now it's interesting to see that some of the issues he raises in Caves of Steel (of disgust and distrust of an overly lifelike humanoid robot) can be regarded as a precursor to Masahiro Mori's Uncanny Valley. In this idea a designer must be careful not to create a robot that is unnervingly almost real (i.e. by not blinking or being cold to the touch).

I do wonder if I'll ever have to may some of the socio-robotics problems that Asimov is famous for. Of course his sacred first law of robotics (...a robot can never harm a human...) was broken when the US started making Talons.

1 comment:

Laurence K said...

The trouble with that uncanny valley is that it is so close to the right hand side - the androids that have been made so far, like Actroid and Zou Ren Ti's fake self are still very creepy, but a lot of work will probably have to be done to get realistic enough to stop making my skin crawl.

Surely it's far better to aim for something that's not so human-like in the first place, like Marvin (in the 2005 film), Bender or similar? You can still move around and have the same shape and size as a person, without having to try and look so much like them, plus it’s easier to achieve!