It’s perhaps no surprise that we’re designing robots that look human. In fact, humans tend to have a preference for toys, gadgets, and machines that are either “cute” or human-like. But what happens if we get a closer look and discover that the "replicant" is just a simulation? Researchers have discovered that the quick moment of realization results in a spike of revulsion. A sharp negative dip in emotion is created when we discover we’ve been duped. When represented on a diagram, it creates a curious gap dubbed “the uncanny valley.” Why have humans developed this instinctive aversion? It could be an evolutionary trait that helps us easier identify other humans and avoid predators: a natural “identify friend/foe” system. Can humans ever learn to love and accept machines as part of our world? Perhaps as long as they look good and never take off their masks…
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