Nanoflix.net Blog

by Peter Rasmussen

The Man Who Mistook His Girlfriend For A Robot

Posted by Peter Rasmussen on March 21, 2007

I love people who make breakthroughs they don’t know they aren’t supposed to be able to. Why do people doing things “the right way” get so good at figuring out that some things are impossible.

Highly skilled experts have been trying to make lifelike artificial characters for a long time now. Most people making serious attempts at this fall into what has become known as “The Uncanny Valley”. As you get closer to making a human character realistic the errors that separate the character from reality become more and more apparent. It’s one of those complex problems that are so entangled in the persistently mysterious structure of our brains that it’s very tough to solve.

David Hanson working on his own seems to have done better than an army of experts before him. What happens? It’s not like David Hanson turns his back on the accumulated knowledge. It’s not like people who have made a career in something like this aren’t creative, independent thinkers.

Is it the “off the shelf moment”? All this industry produces this great hardware and software. Then someone who is not in any particular speciality looks up at all the cool new stuff on the shelf and makes the connection.

The Man Who Mistook His Girlfriend For A Robot article at:
http://iiae.utdallas.edu/news/pop_science.html

The Uncanny Valley
Why are monster-movie zombies so horrifying and talking animals so fascinating?
Written and illustrated by Dave Bryant
http://www.arclight.net/~pdb/nonfiction/uncanny-valley.html

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