Emotional computers really freak people out — a new take on the uncanny valley

New research shows that AIs we perceive as too mentally human-like can unnerve us even if their appearance isn’t human, furthering our understanding of the ‘uncanny valley’ and potentially directing future work into human-computer interactions.

Back in the 1970s, Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori advanced the concept of the ‘uncanny valley’ — the idea that humans will appreciate robots and animations more and more as they become more human-like in appearance, but find them unsettling as they become almost-but-not-quite-human. In other words, we know how a human should look, and a machine that ticks some of the criteria but not all is too close for comfort.

That’s all well and good for appearance — but what about the mind? To find out, Jan-Philipp Stein and Peter Ohler, had 92 participants observe a short conversation between two virtual avatars.

Read more: Emotional computers really freak people out — a new take on the uncanny valley

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Mike Rawson

Mike Rawson has recently re-awoken a long-standing interest in robots and our automated future.

He lives in London with a single android – a temperamental vacuum cleaner – but is looking forward to getting more cyborgs soon.

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Emotional computers really freak people out — a new take on the …

by Mike Rawson time to read: 1 min
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