24 February 2016
Crossing the uncanny valley
This video of the next generation robot from Boston Dynamics has been posted everywhere today, but I'm going to store it here in TYWKIWDBI also, not so much for the technology per se, but for the emotional response the robot generates.
I felt a certain warmth toward the robot while watching it walk in the woods, because its gait in that terrain is not that far removed from my own on my post-polio legs.
Many people have expressed an empathy while watching the robot being tormented by the human - but then there's a sudden emotional shift when the robot gets up from the floor - WOAH! - and you expect it to go find Mr. Hockey Stick and kick some human ass.
For those who missed them in previous years, here is Boston Dynamics' Big Dog (2008). And here is their jumping "Sand Flea" (2012).
And for reference, scroll down here for a graph of the "uncanny valley."