Approaching the uncanny valley

(via TechEBlog)

Scientists in Japan have recently announced the development of a “lifelike” female android called “Repliee Q1Expo.” Of course, they should have named her Rachael, I think, but what do I know? (And speaking of Sean Young, go check out her pictures on IMDB – I can barely believe she’s nearly 50).

More information from the BBC:

She has flexible silicone for skin rather than hard plastic, and a number of sensors and motors to allow her to turn and react in a human-like manner.

She can flutter her eyelids and move her hands like a human. She even appears to breathe.

So why the uncanny valley reference? Well…

Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University says one day robots could fool us into believing they are human.

. . .

“More importantly, we have found that people forget she is an android while interacting with her. Consciously, it is easy to see that she is an android, but unconsciously, we react to the android as if she were a woman.”

I’ll withhold judgment on that claim until I see and read more about Repliee. I will say I’m skeptical, but maybe I’ll be wrong.

[tags]Repliee Q1Expo, Japanese robot, Blade Runner[/tags]