Humanoid Practices Making Facial Expressions: Uncanny Valley, Here We Come

With over 15 years of writing experience, Jonathan has had a passion for all things tech-related since watching Inspector Gadget as a child. He's disassembled countless appliances and managed to put a few back together, and one actually still works. When not writing, he can often be found playing video games or accidentally hurting himself tinkering in the garage.

Because some scientists and engineers are determined to make humanoid robots as indistinguishable from humans as possible, employees at Engineering Arts have been working hard at improving the lifelikeness of their Ameca robot. Upgraded with 12 more actuators in the face than its predecessor, Ameca can now make complicated facial expressions with the help of GPT-4. But can she make a creeped-out face like I’m making right now?

In the first video below, Ameca makes faces at herself in a mirror, quickly transitioning from friendly to frightening almost instantly. In the second video, a human gives her prompts (e.g., tell me about the happiest day of your life), and she responds verbally, with facial expressions to match the tone of her response.

Give it a few more years, and we won’t be able to tell who’s a robot or an actual person! Whatever happened to robots being awkward, square metal cans? They were far less unsettling then, even with pinchers for hands and glowing red lights for eyeballs. And that’s saying something!

[via LaughingSquid]