There’s a phenomenon called the “uncanny valley” that describes the reaction of revulsion humans automatically have when they see humanoid robots that resemble us too much.
Now, meet “Sophia,” the newest creepy robotic head that has sparked controversy in recent days. Sophia has been equipped with human-like facial expressions, and her skills include responsive speech, among others.
According to her creators at Hanson Robotics, Sophia is meant to help people with therapy, healthcare, education and customer service, as she learns to interact with humans in the most natural way possible.
This realistic robot has triggered the “uncanny valley” reaction in a lot of people watching this video, and you can check for yourself to see why.
According to a report from CNBC, the talking humanoid robot has been showed off at the South by Southwest Show (SXSW) in Austin, Texas.
Sophia has built-in cameras in her eyes, patented skin, advanced voice recognition software, and can mimic more than 62 facial human expressions. To make things even more unsettling, Sophia’s face combines the facial traits of Audrey Hepburn and the wife of Hanson Robotics CEO David Hanson.
The CNBC interviewed Sophia, who explained that “talking to people is my primary function.” Thanks to the software she’s built around, the humanoid bot is supposed to get better at interpreting faces over time.
During her unveiling at SXSW, Sophia surprised people by saying she wants to be considered a legal entity at some point in the future, so she could attend school, start a business, and even “have my own home and family one day.”
If Hanson Robotics was expecting the audience to respond with an “awww,” he was way off, because not many fell for that shtick. Hanson continued by saying that we might as well embrace humanoid robots because they will be walking among us in 20 years, helping and teaching us.
At some point, we’re supposed to reach such a level in advanced robotics that bots will no longer be distinguishable from humans. If that’s not creepy, think about being friends with a robot, which is also a part of Hanson’s plans for the future.
And just when you thought this robot head won’t plan to kill you, Hanson asked Sophia near the end of the video if she wants to destroy humankind, at which he cheerfully replied, “OK, I will destroy humans.” Maybe Hanson Robotics should tone it down a little.
Image Source: Mic