Sterling Ambivalence (sterlingnorth) wrote,
Sterling Ambivalence

There's Absolutely Nothing Creepy about Making an Android Who Looks Like Your Girlfriend.

So who is to say that trying to build a lifelike robot is like trying to build a circle out of an infinitely sided polygon? Or as Nicolas of Cusa realized, while adding more sides to a regular polygon gets you closer to a circular shape, it pulls you further away from being an actual circle, since a circle has but one side and no angles. It sounds profound and wise, but no one has really tried it. The same goes for building human-like androids. OK, the Japanese have tried it, and the reaction to the robots prompted the hypothesis to be considered and tested. But that hasn't stopped David Hanson from trying. And his girlfriend is inspiration. Well, she's inspiration for the look of the prototype head. (Actually, I originally thought he modeled the robot on his sister, or on himself if he was a woman. Look at the illustration and tell me that head doesn't look like the female version of himself.)

David Hanson of the University of Texas, Dallas is looking to dispel the Uncanny Valley hypothesis that you can't make a realistic looking android that won't scare people away. He might actually wind up proving it correct, though with the caveat that you can climb out of the valley to the promised land on the other side. However, it is still somewhat creepy to build a new woman based on your girlfriend.
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