Why We Are Unsettled by Robots That Look Too Realistic - Deepstash
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People feel threatened by human-like computers

People feel threatened by human-like computers

In the age of artificial intelligence, there is a growing number of devices that communicate with us. We give them names like "Siri" and "Alexa" and don't find them threatening - until they are given a face.

Evolving technology can create robots that look like people, but it is also at this point where people start to object. Once you can make eye contact with a machine, it starts to look like a horror movie.


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Realistic robots are profitable

  • On the extreme, a Swedish manufacturer produced robot clones of a loved one who has died. The robots can control speech, has the capacity for facial recognition and other artificial intelligence capabilities.
  • During the pandemic lockdown, the supplier Silicone Lovers experienced an increase in demand for these dolls.

The dolls cost $5,000 to $10,000 plus an added charge of $3,000 to $5,000 for the printing cost, but most people won't buy one because of the unease it creates.


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Realistic robots feels creepy

Research explored some of the reasons people view robots that are too realistic as creepy.

  • Human replicas cause creepy perceptions, known as the "uncanny valley." They found that exposure over time decreases the perception of uncanniness.
  • While robots can have some human features, there can be too much of a good thing. That can produce feelings of unease, eeriness, and revulsion.

Perhaps that is why animated dolls are more associated with characters in nightmares, regardless of usefulness.


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