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Into the ­ncanny Valley: 80 Robot Faces Ranked By Creepiness


The face of a robot: cute, or creepy?

Researchers surveyed workers on Amazon Mechanical Turk about how they perceived the faces of 80 different robot.

Credit: BINA48

Experiments administered by Stanford University biostatistician Maya Mathur and the University of California, San Francisco's David Reichling sought to determine the scope of the uncanny valley--the point at which a lifelike robot stops attracting people and instead repels them--so designers have tools to make machines that humans are more comfortable around.

The researchers surveyed 66 workers on Amazon Mechanical Turk to score a series of 80 robot faces on a scale of 1 to 100 in terms of how mechanical and how human they appeared. The participants also had to rate how enjoyable they would find interacting with such robots on a daily basis.

Mathur and Reichling determined the robots' perceived friendliness closely corresponded with the uncanny valley curve.

Follow-up experiments asked 92 workers how much money they would give a robot to invest, which the robot would then triple and decide whether and how much to give back to them. The researchers found the sum of money that participants opted to give to the robot also followed the uncanny valley pattern.

"I think, ultimately, these data suggest that the uncanny valley is a real and tangible problem," Mathur says.

From New Scientist
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