The Uncanny Valley: That's the term researchers use to describe the strange sensation humans feel when they look at a computer-generated face or a humanoid robot and can tell that there's something off about the machine. A startup in Stockholm called Furhat has set out to reduce the queasy factor by giving computers and robots friendlier, more natural faces.
Hello World host Ashlee Vance meets with a pair of the brains behind Furhat—Preben Wik and Samer Al Moubayed—to discuss their breakthroughs. Together they watch Furhat's funky machine change its face in an instant, while engaging in a witty—sometimes—repartee with the machine.
The meeting takes place in Epicenter, a Swedish nerd lounge where members can insert chips underneath their skin to give them access to the facility rather than dealing with cumbersome keys.