Would Uncanny Valley hypothesis affect the development of robots?

Nowadays with the development of technology, robots are no longer a novelty in our life. It is easy to see flexible in our houses, SCARA robots in factories and even robot waiters in some restaurants.  I have a crazy prediction that in the next 30 years, robots would completely be an indispensable part of our life. Although robots give plenty of convenience to our work and life, they are not accepted by all people. Recently, I noticed the famous Uncanny Valley hypothesis, that is, a computer-generated figure or humanoid robot with an identical resemblance to a human being arouses a sense of unease or revulsion in the person’s view. Thus, would this hypothesis affect the development of robots?

jules-uncanny-valley  (human liked robot)

First of all, I do not think the Uncanny Valley hypothesis would still exist after 30 years. For our grandparents, they would show a cold feeling to robots because those strange machine seems smarter than them and enjoy a high position in a family. In addition, in many adults’ eyes, those smart human-like robots may to some extend threaten our human’s ability and control of the world. However, we are all used to the life with robots because they have been widely used in our generation. And for the next generation, they are born in a generation when robots are increasingly popular. When they grow up, robots to them are just like laptop to our generation. Thus I do not think this hypothesis would exist in the next 30 years.

However, there might be some people afraid of robots. And my first suggestion is to reduce the cost of robots’ production. Now robotic products are very expensive, most people could not afford them. We can find hat a regular robotic vacuum cleaner would be about 500$, and a pool cleaner is about 700$. If the market can lower the price, and most people could have them in their house. Later most people would be comfortable with the existence of robots in their lives. Moreover, robots would not likely to be human liked with less budget. Uncanny Valley hypothesis talks about that people would afraid human liked robots. If the robots are not human liked, people would be less likely to be afraid of them.

Secondly, good appearance of robots would also help. We are familiar with the robots in science fiction movies. For example, T-1000 in Terminator is terrifying while the child-like robot David in AI is friendly. Thus we could see that a good appearance is really important. Maybe one day, one of your colleagues is a robot, or your assistant is a robot. If they have amiable figures, good-looking faces and proper facial expressions, I believe you will be happy to work with them every day. Besides, adding some cartoon characteristics to robots’ appearance would make them more acceptable. Imagining that a pikachu would wake you up in the morning, and a tom cat can be your pet, I do not think you would be frightened by robots anymore?

From my point of view, lower the cost if production of robots and make a better appearance for robots would be really help. Thus I do not think Uncanny Valley hypothesis would affect the development of robots.


(T 1000 from Terminator and David from A.I )

More about Uncanny Valley hypothesis


10 Creepy Examples of the Uncanny Valley



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