Computable Minds -

Explanations of the uncanny valley

Posted on: May, 15th 2011
Robot in the uncanny valley
The uncanny valley, is a theory of the japanes expert in robotics Masahiro Mori that says that the emotional response of a human to a humanoid robot, will be empathic and positive as much more it's the resemblance to a human, but will arrive a point before that the similarity and the movements of the robot be totally human, in that the response will be of aversion. Overcomed this valley, when the robot is indistinguishable from a human, the response becomes so empathic as to any other human.

Graph of the uncanny valley

This theory of 1970 isn't demonstrated. However, to a lot of people is obviously true when we see some robots or 3D images of videogame characters.

Why we see repulsive the robots inside of the valley? There are several hipothesis. Is said that if on the one hand you see a robot that isn't very similar to a human but that have some human characteristics, you will see it sympathetic because it highlights the human characteristics, and on the other hand it dislike you when it be very similar to a human and have some robot characteristics, because in this case the robot characteristics are highlighted. Possibly, when we arrive to this valley we don't see a robot trying to be human, unless a human with defects. Others say that is due to that these robots shows some characteristics of ill persons, death or with mental disorders. Also is the posibility of that have its origin in our evolution, because when we see them as a specie similar to us, our brain makes us feel that repulsion to avoid that we take interest in the reproduction with different species.

Other question is, ¿really the response will become empathic when we surpass the valley? This isn't verified because we haven't robots totally similar to humans. Is clear that if we don't know that is a robot and there is any difference between a human and the robot, it will seem nice to us, but, what will happen if someone tell us that really is a robot? It follow seem nice to us? We are the humans "robophobics"?

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