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Uncanny valley different seen from developer and critical user? +Intro

Hi I am very new here and should have read a lot of how it works here
so pardon for jumping in and making a fool of myself.

The uncanny valley seems very real to me as a user while some developer
seems to be blissfully unaware or not giving it a thought or apologizing for
how creepy their products are.

Or I am overly sensitive to the uncanny valley and the develpers
maybe are normal or more unvilling to take it in. We all may be different. smile

Examples. Repliee Q2 seen on Wikipedia is a typical such that
show the difference between a developer that seems to feel rather okay
with the result while I and I trust many many others feel the result is creepy.

Now social consideration makes it unpolite to criticise people that spend years
on difficult things so I trust that most of people around him would not even consider
to tell him how creepy she behaves. Looks is rather okay but the ways she moves.

Another is the Danish developer that made a good looking copy of himself
but the movements are very creepy to me. My whole body feel sad about him
being that sick and I feel for looking away.

Geminoid DK Professor Henrik Scharfe of Aalborg.

I feel bad to give him or any of his hardworking any criticism
but it is obvious to me that a developer is biased positively
seeing their brain children bots as good enough for display
while a critical end user say this is not good enough to pay for smile

Maybe it is an unsolable dilemma. The maker of a thing fall in love
with their creation. Very understandable and almost nothing one
can prevent. While a buyer can be overly critical because they
are paying for the end product and not always falling for it head over heals.

I am a retired Telecom Technichian and bad at programming so no wonder
that I am able to be this unfair so hope you guys can show pardon.

Anyway I love the effort all of you put into this and are looking forward to
any progress. It is exciting times indeed.

Tommy Anderson


  [ # 1 ]

Welcome, Tommy! smile

You should never have to feel apologetic for stating your opinions, as long as you’re polite (which I feel you were), and don’t go out of your way to make someone feel bad. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and I think you’ve made some valid points. I may not agree with everything you said (heck I didn’t understand everything you’ve said), but I support your “right” to share with us. smile Keep it up, I say!


  [ # 2 ]

I don’t think you are being rude either.  I also feel a lot of these types of things are creepy.

The same is true in animation.

There is at least one animation company that has probably evaded the Uncanny Valley; Image Metrics :


  [ # 3 ]

Thanks, yes Emily by Image Metrics is really good.
One need to be un-generous to not give them kudos
for that progress. I guess only “sensitive” people like me
would complain. I saw this youtube link some years ago.

But I did forget to link or mention it here in my introduction.

Thanks for the warm and friendly welcome from all of you.
Audio “chat-bots”? not sure of the proper name to use.

One of our Telecom companies have one that is used also
in the AngloAmerican world. But they have made a good Swedish
version of it. One record a real human being an then all those
small sound bites get indexed so the program can put them together
fast enough to not give too noticable delay. That way one get away
from “synthetic” voice and it sounds very good but the problem is
that like written chat-bot the program need to understand what the human say
or write and to respond in a way that get accepted by the user of the service.

A former State owned company it is now competing with the private sector
I made a phone call to the “Press Officer” and she remembered that their
Audio chat bot had had extensive testing in Australia but she did not remember
the name of the firm that owns the right to it. They have had it for many years now
and only a few people complain about how it works. I am unfortunately one of them.

I trust it is very good seen from the developer perspective. I mean it is most likely
as good as the current knowledge allow. It can understand several “accents” and
regional “dialects” of Swedish and almost always gets what people tells it.

So far so good. Only us that have this overly sensitive “uncanny valley” detector react negatively.

My naive take is that it can have to do with me having Asperger Syndrom a mild Autistic version.
Hope none other that have this sensitivity read into my comment that everybody sensitive has
any such tendencies or traits. The reason somebody react can be very variet and personal.

I react even to real people so I am odd in that way.

Anyway my personal interest in chat bots is a bit embarrassing. Way back in time
in England and USA and maybe other countries. Rich widows that felt alone payed
a girl to read stories and to be a “conversational companion” to make them feel less lonely.

So I would love to have an App in my Android or Iphone that where cutting edge good at
doing friendly conversation and it does not need to be intelligent on an academic level
more like a “Life Coach” way in being emotionall supportive and boosting the low self esteem.

Yeah I know it is embarrassing to write and to read about it too. But is it not an interesting
challenge to make such an app?

One could maybe start simple and just make a human version of a Coach in Training? 
one don’t need to promise a “Guru or Master” version from scratch? Just start up something
that makes a viral presense that gets remembered as a “genre” or niche that exists.

Yes I know there exists those Sex-bots but that is too much porn for my taste.
Not that I am against sex at all but what I need is basic non-sexual friendly conversation.

By friendly I mean the chat bot should not try to be overly teasing and competitive in
being “smart”

Maybe I am too naive. If there is a too small market then the app will never get an incentive
beacause there is no money in the project. So one would have to rely on that some University
see it as an interesting research subject for a deep look into what works and what does not?

Another niche is the therapeuptic chat bots that can help people with mild depression.
These are more demanding to make due to them promise they are good enough
to be prescribed by a doctor to help people with a diagnose so they have to be certified.

So I trust them would need much research before they get out on the market.

Rambling post this one smile


  [ # 4 ]


I share a lot of your thoughts and over the years, have spent a considerable amount of time conversing with and searching for a suitable chatbot / conversationalist.

There are many from which to choose but only a few that even come close to my “high standards” of acceptance! LOL!

I do like the ones that allow for a degree of customization whether that be through “adjusting” internal scripts or setting some parameters in their “options” controls. As mentioned, each of us has differrent likes and dislikes but my quest has been for a conversational program that could be sort of “as close to human without actually requiring food!”

So…having fun despite my age and still searching for that elusive “bot”.
(I’m a fairly new member here but have been doing the chatbot thing for over 30 years!)

Be well…


  [ # 5 ]

Thanks Art,
cool that you share your experience. Looks promising indeed
and on a Research news entry Karolina Kuligowska writes about
such for depression. And she gave us a link and text to check out.

Chatbots: innovative treatment for depression

Animated Conversational Agent for long-term relationships
Karolina Kuligowska By Karolina Kuligowska, May 27, 2011 in Research news

So thanks to both of you. Late at night here now so I read this tomorrow.


  [ # 6 ]

I think that if you weren’t depressed before talking to Eliza, you would be when you were finished.  After two or three exchanges, it easily becomes apparent that you’re just having your previous answers reworded and tossed back at you.

Another flaw in Eliza’s method is how it repeatedly responds with yet another question.  A visitor would probably prefer an answer at some point, or at least a definitive reply offering advice, instead of the constant probing that seems to lead nowhere.  I know the tactic is intended to encourage the visitor to enter into a journey of self-discovery, but it’s awkward, and unlike human to human conversation.


  [ # 7 ]

As far as conversational programs are concerned, two that quickly come to mind are Cognitive Code’s Silvia - the original work of Mr. Leslie Spring. You might have seen a couple of the demo conversations between him and Silvia that appeared to be quite outstanding especially since the conversation was unscripted. I think you can still find some of the demos by searching Youtube. SORRY…I was trying a quick search of youtube myself just to make sure and it appears that the demo of Leslie Spring talking with Silvia is no longer available. They do have a website at and it seems that they have been awarded some government contracts so perhaps Silvia was everything that she was portrayed to be! The really good ones usually are. I did get an email back from the company a few years ago and I was told that the single user license would be in the neighborhood of $5,000.00 USD. (I obviously declined to get one). wink

Another company that I thought showed some great promise was ejTalk’s Cassandra. Again, you’ve likely seen some of those video demos on youtube of her answering questions about the solar system, Shakespeare, horoscopes, etc.
Although I was told by the developer, Mr. Emmett Coin, that Cassandra is NOT a chatbot but rather a program to see how conversations are developed and interacted. The program uses a type of structured XML and as you can see, the demos are pretty spot on! You can view more from their website:

As my departed friend, Knytetrypper used to say,
“Onward thru the fog…”


  [ # 8 ]

I went to the cognitive code site as I remembered this being pretty good.

Is it just me but do none of the links do anything ?  Any that are working return you to the page you are on and none of the links in the footer are operative.


  [ # 9 ]


I wondered the same thing and thought they either aren’t aware of it, under construction of some sort or too busy with development for the government contractor!

Not very professional to leave a site hanging in such condition IMHO.

So no…it is not just you…it’s all the rest of us and curious people like us wishing to explore their site.

What’s odd, I couldn’t find a single reference to Silvia or Cognitive Code anywhere on Youtube and there used to be LOTS of videos about Silvia!!

Hey, Remember that way back like? Wonder if we could find something there? Hmmm….


  [ # 10 ]


I thought I had edited this link into my previous email but for some reason, it didn’t appear.

New is…I found the old link and here it is for your viewing pleasure…

Still priced a bit steep for my blood ($5000.00 / license)!!


  [ # 11 ]

Hi Art,

Thanks for that, yes that’s the video I remember.  I did find one of the links did something on their site in the end :

Very cool technology, I am glad it did not go the way of the Dodo as so many of these things tend to do.

Perhaps you are right, maybe the site is still under construction, but usually they would point that kind of thing out.

Oh well, at least it’s on it’s way now, but I agree…my pocket money will not cover it either !


  [ # 12 ]

Thanks for all interesting info on different versions.

Yes if they are good enough they get bought up
by those that can affort to pay a price one can not
afford to say no to. Just trying to be humor it a bit.
5.000.000 that is peanuts for a below poverty guy like me smile

Haha that means it is either very good or them know how to get money.

I got very tired of Eliza indeed. I guess I am a mix of bing very demanding
or having almost no need for a fancy thing. Even an artificial cat that Meow
would do if it where true enough to the real thing.

I don’t want to break any rules about giving links to commercial sites
but in case you are curious on my like for purring cats there is a known
company that sells cat food for “Felix” ??? or some other such name.
They had a year ago a rather cute similation of a cat that purred and
wanted to play catch and liked to be stroked or ticled and that felt good
to interact with. But it is a true Ad thing so I don’t try to find it again and link.

Would be seen as spam. Is this not another kind of Uncanny Valley.
Instead of the graphic looking weird it is the verbal responses that
comes out as weird. Whatever one say to Eliza it just comes back
only twisted or so.

I would rather accept a limited “Cheer” bot that just act cosy and friendly.
But I guess one get tired of such too. Should I get myself a real cat maybe?

Is it not realistic at the current state of research and implementation
to expect a chat-bot to be a working thing. It is too early. Some decades from now?
Maybe they emerge out of some self replicating DNA like code?


  [ # 13 ]

I tested to chat with Hal at
using their online chat facility.

I am a spoiled old grumpy guy. Okay it was fun
but not what I need. Better than Eliza but not
at the level I expect. I guess my ignorance
and naivety makes me expect too much.

Or my poor English may have thrown Hal into
some weird interpretations of my friendly intent
using uncommon words. HAL knows American Slang
I had no idea what this word referred to.

Slang Dictionary

spring (so) definition

  to get someone out of jail on bond or permanently. :
My wife came down and sprung me; otherwise,
I’d still be in the slammer.

Haha I have no idea why HAL thought it would be
consistent to suddenly talk about That I need a respring. ?

Happy I did not know what it meant and HAL just sad it where
a slang word. Did not explain it despite me asking what it meant.


  [ # 14 ]

I’ve been very lazy lately so bear with me.
I have nothing much to report on at all.
More by accident I found this text. You most
likely already know all about it but it is new to me smile

They seem to care about the Uncanny Valley too.
Here is a commentary from New Scientist text.

I fail to decide what to quote so read the text at the link .

“The team evaluated the accuracy of their expressions by asking five autistic and 15 non-autistic children to identify a set of expressions performed first by FACE and then by a psychologist. Both groups were able to identify happiness, anger and sadness but less able identify fear, disgust and surprise.

So is it more attractive? I’m not convinced. But FACE’s ability to smoothly transition between one emotion and another is pretty remarkable. And not too creepy.”

Typically of me I am too sensitive. Maybe I am uniquely overly critical.
Look at the video and give your reactions. To me it is still too creepy
Maybe you guys are more generous.


  [ # 15 ]

Things still have a way to go in the field of acceptably realistic robotics but people are definitely making good progress

eye technology

facial expression

Body movement


general movement control

well, I can definitely see a progression from the 18th century but maybe we have another couple of hundred years to go before they are truly acceptable as replacement humans,


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