I understand about the dead eyed look. But I would think it might be far more unnerving to see a robot with really live looking eyes and a sinister sneer..... Remember WestWorlod with Yul Brenner? Creepiness aside, it is very easy for a robot to look menacing.
Watson AI and a humanoid form would require some getting used to but I think it can be done. We have to remove the creepiness through humor, good features and smiles and a soft tone of voice. The AI will have to go to a lot of effort to avoid anything that might be interpreted as menacing or even less than cheerfully subservient.
Maybe childlike would help? Obviously a big hulking robot with glaring bright eyes and a heavy voice would easily scare people. Maybe making them like little aliens with green or blue skin (helpful smurfs?) or something like that would offset the adverse effects?
To me, the "uncanny valley" is unavoidable when you see these humanoid robots that have the dead-eyed look that makes them look like they belong in a wax museum. I don't see how those types of robots can make humans feel comfortable--they are far too creepy. On the other hand, some of the robot-looking robots seem like they have great potential, but in my opinion, more for professional or commercial applications. I still can't see having some space-age robot in the home loading the dishwasher or folding laundry. Much as I'd like to offload those tasks, it's not doing it for me.
How much of this is related the familiarity of the human subject with the robot? People can get used to a lot given some time.
I think there was a Twilight Zone episode to the effect. A man wrongfully imprisoned I think on an asteroid was given a female robot companion. When he had to leave she could not go with him and he was distraught, etc.
I wonder how much of the uncanny valley disappears over time once a greater familiarity is experienced by the humans.
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