I consider myself somewhat of a robot fan, and there are few automatons you could show me that I wouldn’t think are pretty damn cool in some capacity or another. However, there are some robots out there that, no matter how awesome you usually think robots are, are absolutely, seat-wettingly scary. The vast majority of these tend to be humanoid, skirting the phenomenon of the Uncanny Valley with varying degrees of unsettling success. No matter much closer they might bring us to having a completely realistic human robot, there’s simply no excuse for taking some of these android abominations out in public.
This thing is probably made to seem more horrible than it actually is by the soundtrack on this particular video (possibly), but it – she? – is rather terrifying. Allegedly based on a real five year old girl, it has the same strange, lifeless look that you see on the kids in those masterfully creepy Japanese horror films. Probably not something that you’d want to replace real life kids with any time in the near future.
Dental Training Robot
At first this one doesn’t seem too bad… until around 30 seconds it when they show its disembodied face and talk about how a love doll manufacturer made the inside of its mouth. It can even choke! As if that wasn’t bad enough, it also has speech recognition technology, allowing it to conduct conversations with you “just like a real patient”. While it’s probably incredibly helpful to dental students, it’s still incredibly scary.
Japanese Child Robot
This robot isn’t especially realistic to look at (and, truth be told, it’s rather too big to be a baby), but the way it moves and the noises it makes (especially the noises it makes) are what really amp up the creep factor.
He seems affable enough to begin with (and is rather unfortunate in that he has the back of his head missing), but at the end of the video this video Philip is blithely telling the interviewer that, if he does turn into the Terminator, he’ll “keep [him] warm and safe in his people zoo.” If that’s not somewhat disturbing then I don’t know what is (well, maybe the rest of the robots listed here for a start).
Jules definitely isn’t one of the scariest robots here, but the way he waxes lyrical about coming back (“Some day I’ll come and find you… and we’ll be good friends” – yeah, right!), as well as the incredibly creepy way the researchers talk to – and pet – him, makes him rather unnerving overall.
Ella wrote this post for Global-Integration, with a fond hope that the company will never take robots as creepy as these into their employ in the future.