Why Your Next Lover, Therapist, and Friend Could Be a Robot

Androids are constantly improving but…well, let’s face it—they’re still pretty bad. There’s just something about them that still isn’t right and that could keep people from forming connections with them.

They often fall into what’s been dubbed the uncanny valley, an idea introduced in the 1970s by Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori. He noticed how people seemed repulsed by things that were very close to human, but not quite there.

Because of the informal nature of the concept’s creation, it’s existence is actually a topic of debate among psychologists, with some proposing that there’s no well-defined valley per se, just an uncanny phenomenon that different people may feel to different degrees. Some people may not experience that uncanny sensation at all.

So since the uncanny valley isn’t a hard-and fast rule, it’s not an impassable obstacle when it comes to forming relationships with androids. Really people can form relationships with anything — humans are emotional creatures and we have a tendency to anthropomorphize even inanimate objects all the time.