I know what you mean, Chuck. I haven't come into contact with any of them myself, personally, but it would seem sort of weird, even for someone like me who grew up in the Star Wars generation. ;) I'm sure we're not alone, but perhaps as robots become more advanced and are more prevalent in the human world, people will just get used to them. As with most things, the more you experience something, the more familiar it becomes.
For whatever reason, Liz, I would have trouble taking any of these humanoid robots seriously in a business setting. I'd feel comfortable talking to a Telepresence system on a wall, but I can't imagine carrying on a discussion with humanoid robot that's following me down a hallway.
Ah, interesting...so perhaps "the eyes" have it? (Pun intended. ;)) But seriously, it is intresting to think what parts of the robot make it more human-like and therefore make people more comfortable interacting with it. I would imagine eyes, which already are important windows into a human being's character, would be an important feature on a robot to make it seem more human. We often judge a person by their eyes--ie, do they look trustworthy, does their smile reach their eyes. Perhaps it's the same with robots.
Interesting concept, Chuck, I did not know about the "uncanny valley." Makes perfect sense, but I suppose as you say we have to just get used to the idea. Humor seems a good way to bridge the gap, for sure. And if Baxter is as well designed as Ann says, perhaps "he," too, bridges the valley. I guess we will just have to see. But it still may be awhile before it's like C3PO or R2D2 in Star Wars and robots are seen as our friends and trusted companions! Just to get people in an industrial setting to work comfortably alongside Baxter and others like "him" would be a good start.
That's funny, Ann, I was tempted to call Baxter a "he" straightaway! Good to know he lives up to his design promise. Is he as intuitive as he is suposed to be? I really would be so curious to meet him (yes, it is a bit weird to be thinking this about a robot) since he was so hyped!