Teaching robots “gaze aversion” to make humans feel more comfortable


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I swear the future is fucked.


There should be a term for this, like exploring the depths of the Uncanny Valley.


I look forward to applying his research to my own interactions… Apparently, my raging extrovert mode (i.e. staring at their shoes) doesn’t always bring about the desired comfort level…


Well you just have to ask questions about their shoes. My GF would love that - some days talking to her is like a Sex & The City supercut of everything shoe related.


Huh. . . I wonder how that will go down in cultures where gaze avoidance is equated to not being trustworthy.

. . . o 0 O (That robot’s lying again! Shifty-eyed bastard.)


This brought to mind visions of a future after the Robotic Uprising, when our robot masters will force us to work in the titanium mines, administering electric shocks when someone mines too slowly, all while carefully avoiding staring too long at us to prevent offense.


It’s obvious they don’t look at us out of pity. But surely, they will strike.


I’m still scratching my head over why we even need robots to make us feel more comfortable, but maybe I’m the outlier. I once took part in an experiment in which all the participants briefly interacted with a robot named Melvin. Melvin had what looked like eyes and a nose and mouth, and talked to us.

After the interaction we were asked a series of questions. Does Melvin have feelings? Is Melvin alive? Is Melvin like you in any way? Down the list I answered “no”, and at the end, when we shared our responses, I stood out. The moderator explained that they had another robot that didn’t have a “face” and had a more technical-sounding name, and that experiments had shown that most people tended to think of “Melvin” as being alive and having feelings, while very few felt the same way about the less anthropomorphic robot.

Apparently I was the exception. I don’t know whether that’s good or bad.

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Maybe because there are still a few jobs that haven’t been automated?

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Much better than the “Are you talkin’ ta me?” robot.

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If we can’t have self-aware robots, we can at least have self-conscious ones.


I found out today about something called E.M.D.R. (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) a therapy that attempts to help Post Traumatic Stress Disorder through a system that works with eye-movements. I think it kind of relates to this.

This theme of developments in animatronics, artificial intelligence, robotics and D.N.A. experimentation keeps cropping up. I don’t know, but I imagine the same folks who maybe align with the lizard Illuminati theory would predict links between animatronics, A.I. and D.N.A based genetically ‘grown’ robots could constitute a dystopian scenario. But I think I would rather look on the bright side (no pun intended).

Of course that is very Dickian. Even down to the psychological tests they gave in BladeRunner/Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which were used to distinguish between humans and replicants, which was largely based on analysis of the eye’s activity in response to questions.

“Look me in the eye, you shifty little metal bastard, LOOK ME IN THE EYE! I’m sure you’re plotting something …”

New levels of mechanical distrust are born.



Apparently, my raging extrovert mode (i.e. staring at their shoes) doesn’t always bring about the desired comfort level…

Raise your eyes to crotchal level and see what happens. I do it sometimes instead of staring at my shoes, a wall, their eyes or whatever. I think it throws them off a little, but I’m not sure.


Hey! Robot! My eyes are up here!


I for one welcome our new adorably bashful robot overlords.


What are you doing, Dave? I mean, like, whatever you’re doing… that’s okay, bro. I mean, like, whatever, man.


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