Dread Valley: “Used to refer to a phenomenon in which a computer-generated figure or humanoid robot having an almost identical resemblance to a human causes feelings of uneasiness or disgust in the person looking at it.” At the edge of the abyss, you have humanoid robots that still look like machines. On the opposite side are robots indistinguishable from healthy people. The valley is inhabited by humanoids that look wrong, but not for lack of trying.
The UK startup Engineered Arts (EA; not to be confused with Electronic Arts) was production humanoid robots since 2005, but his creations have come a long way since the first robotic puppets. Its last one, called Ameca, really enters the ominous valley. The robot uses AI to give the robot natural facial expressions.
There is no built-in AI in Ameca. Basically, this is a realistic recession that companies can program for Create natural human expressions for promotions, films, or whatever they can imagine (see above). Although he includes facial expressions and hand movements, he is unable to walk or speak.
The project is based on its previous humanoid robot Mesmer, which EA built imitate people. Think of Mesmer as a puppet that EA can fit into any model’s face and can be controlled remotely (see below).
It is difficult to say which creation is more troubling. Mesmer looks more human, but his facial expressions are more mechanical than Ameka’s. In my opinion, I would say that Mesmer is on the descent, and Ameka is on the side of an ominous valley.
Regardless of where they are on the scale, they are prime examples of where robotics and AI are heading. We’re not that far from working androids like the ones we’ve seen in countless TV shows and movies.
While Ameca is currently unable to walk, Engineering Arts wants its bots to end up being outpatient. The vision for the company may be closer than we think given the work that Boston Dynamics has done in this area.
What do you think? If they were affordable, would you have fun having a realistic robot to keep you company or do the dishes, or does it all look too creepy?