Jules the Robot Says Farwell

Jules is a robot designed to invoke human-like responses. The robot is not a fully fledged AI and is programmed to state certain responses such as the infamous “will I dream” speech from 2010: The Year We Make Contact. None the less the simulation is interesting: Jules is designed with a material called Frubberâ„¢ which allows human-like expression. Jules borders on the Uncanny Valley a term created by robotocist Masahiro Mori. The uncanny valley refers to how when something looks about “95% human” its often more disturbing that something that looks “30% human.” For example a cartoon figure as a robot seems unthreatening and not disturbing. Yet a human-like robot that is close to human in appearance but has just the slightest irregularities such as not blinking, lack of facial expression, etc. seems more disturbing. That last “5%” is the hardest to replicate.

HL Mencken

“The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. “The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and […]