May 02, 2007

Does Khalil dream of electric sheep?

jbox at Gaslamp Ball says yes, and supports himself with charts & graphs:

I figured out what makes Khalil so creepy. They made him too realistic! Have you heard of the Uncanny Valley? When you're making a humanoid robot, the more realistic it is made the more familiar it looks to the human eye. You get a positive feeling because even though you can tell it's a robot your brain picks out the human characteristics and you have empathy for the machine. That is until you reach the "Uncanny Valley". This is the point where the robot looks a little too realistic so the eye finds all the non-human characteristics and flaws. This tends to creep people out. Check out this graph from Wikipedia:
While extremely persuasive, this argument ultimately fails for me, for two reasons:

1) Why would anyone design a shortstop-android that injures its hands and fingers all the time?

2) Why would anyone design a shortstop-android that looks like Spicoli?

Oh, and 3) the Padre fan in my house says "that's just not very nice." And here I thought she had a sense of humor.

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