Kids like robots and robots like kids (i.e. Robbie, thanks Mr. Asimov)
So now Javier Movellan from UC San Diego Machine Perception Laboratory has spent nearly 3 decades observing and influencing kids interactions with robots.
Babies are naturally drawn to things that look like faces. I remember reading during my OB rotation that babies will stare longer at dots that look like a face than not.Wonderful artistry by me. Even now, I'm sure you're seeing that "non-face" as a poor man who has fallen upside down.
You and your brain. Trying to make sense of things.
In 1987, Movellan and his partner John Watson found out that, even if a robot doesn't look particularly human, if it interacts with the child the kind will treat it like a human. It will respond and follow it.
This makes me wonder, if facial recognition (as far as recognizing faces as faces) starts around 6 months, and stranger anxiety (recognizing unfamiliar faces as unfamiliar) happens about 2 years old. When does the uncanny valley come into play?
Recently (Well, last January) Movellan and his San Diego pals got in a bit of trouble for making a "robot baby."
I'm sure this has to do with the Uncanny Valley. There is a severe drop in our comfort level as something seems "almost" human.
No surprize that Zombie is at the bottom. Something that was human, maybe even someone you know, however, they are certainly NOT human now.
Watch this video and gauge your own reaction to the more "realistic" robots.
Of course it could be the creepy music they chose to play, too.
In my opinion, I have no fear of Isaac (my roomba) unlike my cat.
But the Speak and Spell voice will always creep me out.
I learned to spell just so I wouldn't be reprimanded by that evil evil device!