My undergraduate research group and I just finished reading, The Mind Club, by Daniel Wegner and Kurt Gray. It is a close look at how we determine if someone has a “mind” or not. One of the chapters covers the uncanny valley — a term used to describe what happens when a robot looks “too” human. The big idea here is that if a robot does not truly look human or robotic we are creeped out by its existence. In a sense, the in-between robot, never fully human, never fully robot, makes us uneasy.
After reading this chapter, I thought a lot about the show “Westworld” (a series about robots that look human). In the show, the audience members are often tasked with this idea of whether or not the robot has a mind. Notably, the robots I find myself connecting to more happen to not fall in the uncanny valley!