Uncanny Valley Watch: Pole-Dancing Robots
AFP recorded video of a pair of pole-dancing robots showing off for humans at the CeBIT trade fair in Germany.
Twin humanoid robots danced suggestively as they straddled poles at the world's biggest tech fair this year. But the robotic pole dancers don't come cheap — anyone wishing to hire them must pay a hefty fee of almost $40,000.
The combination of a white robotic body and a camera-shaped light as a head leaves no doubt that the gyrating figures are machines. But their female body shapes and ability to mimic pole-dancing add an undeniably sexual element that most humans don't see in their toasters or smartphones, and hint at tomorrow's world where humans may take on robot lovers or sex companions.
That has helped make the exhibit one of the most popular at the CeBIT trade fair in Germany, according to AFP. A third robot with a megaphone for a head acts as the DJ providing thudding dance beats for the robotic performance.
Such robots don't obviously evoke what Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori called "the uncanny valley" — a creepy sensation or feeling caused by seeing a mix of human and non-human traits in robots or computer-animated characters.
Still, their human-like behavior and performance in a distinctly sexualized context can leave a nagging sense of unease. On a scale where "1" means adorable and "5" means creepy, we rank the pole-dancing robots around a "3".
This story is part of InnovationNewsDaily's ongoing series about the creepy transition to humanoid robots. You can follow InnovationNewsDaily Senior Writer Jeremy Hsu on Twitter @ScienceHsu. Follow InnovationNewsDaily on Twitter @News_Innovation, or on Facebook.