You see a film about a group of robots that seem human, but there is something off about them that you can't quite pinpoint. It makes you feel a little creepy inside, and you don't know why. At that moment you're experiencing the uncanny valley, a phenomenon in which the more human-like a robot becomes, the more unsettled by it we humans become.
From the robotic vacuum buzzing around your bedroom to the voice of your navigation system, robots and computers with human-like qualities are becoming ever more pervasive in our society. Why do some make us want to hug them and others make us want to run and hide?
For this event in our Being Human in the 21st Century series, roboticists Heather Knight and Chris Bregler discuss the future of robot-human relations.
Join us for a reception afterwards, where you might just get to meet some robots.
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One of the signature traits of being human is our quest to define what it means to "be human." But that definition is always changing—now perhaps more than ever. From virtual reality to mundane reality, science and technology continue to push the boundaries of human existence. In this series, Science & the City will examine what it means to be human in the 21st century.
Other upcoming events in this series:
• System Overload: The Limits of Human Memory, September 6, 2011
• Celluloid Science: Humanizing Life in the Lab, October 20, 2011
• Virtual Humanity: The Anthropology of Online Worlds, November 9, 2011
• Matchmaking in the Digital Age, February 15, 2012
Learn more about the series here.