Nadine The Robot Is Amazing And Creepy

Nadine The Robot Is Amazing And Creepy

You are about to enter another dimension.
A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into the wondrous land…of
robotics. There’s a sign post up ahead, next stop: SciShow News. This week, scientists at Nanyang Technological
University in Singapore unveiled Nadine, a robot receptionist with soft skin, real hair,
and an uncanny, echoey speaking voice that comes from somewhere other than its face,
even though its lips move when it talks. It will reach out with jerky motions to shake
your hand, remember you and your previous conversations, and it can even use body language
to show happiness and sadness. Nadine is the next generation of human-like
robotics, and it’s an incredible scientific achievement, uniting sophisticated motors
with rapid real-time sensors and a cutting edge artificial intelligence, or AI. And a lot of people think it’s super creepy,
like me, for example. More on that in a second. First, let’s talk
about how Nadine works. Like Pepper, a personal companion robot that
went on sale in Japan in June of 2015, Nadine has concealed cameras connected to facial
recognition software. Those cameras tell Nadine where to look, so
it can make eye contact with its users, and also feed the AI information about the user’s
facial expressions, by comparing things like the shape of the user’s mouth and eyes to
an internal database of facial expressions. I’m wondering if one of the facial expressions
is this… Other cameras track the user’s proximity
and body language. Some of the body language information is also sent to the AI, and some
of it is sent to the programs that control the robotic motors that move and position
Nadine’s arms and upper body. That’s how it knows to shake your hand when
you reach out to it, take paperwork you offer it, or hand you things from its desk. Nadine’s AI works a lot like other AI companions
you might have talked to before, like Siri or Cortana. Their AIs, like Nadine’s, aren’t actually
stored on your phone, or inside a humanoid robot receptionist. Those programs are run
on massive servers that can handle huge amounts of information, and the device — whether
that’s a phone, or Nadine — just connects to them wirelessly. Those servers contain the AI’s vocabulary
and speech recognition software, and records of everyone it’s ever talked to, and what
they’ve talked about. They also contain the bananas-complicated
programming algorithms that let the AI cross-reference all of its previous interactions to figure
out what was successful, and what wasn’t. That’s what lets AIs like Siri, or Nadine,
learn over time. There are way too many possible combinations
of words for programmers to be able to teach them how to respond to any phrase you might
say. So, instead, these AIs use that stored information
to identify keywords and context so that they can, hopefully, /guess/ what you want. And as for Nadine’s soft, sensitive skin,
that actually lets the robot respond to touch? The scientists at NTU haven’t released its
technical specs yet, but we know how most artificial skin works in cutting edge robotics. Generally. a film of thin, super flexible
rubber is placed between two sheets of parallel electrodes. Each individual electrode has a partner on
the other side of that film of rubber, and a small charge is generated by each pair of
electrodes, which is stored by the rubber between them. When you touch this artificial skin, it’s
compressed: meaning that the rubber thins, and is able to store less electrical charge. Information on how much charge there is between
each pair of electrodes is fed to a program that creates a topographical map of where
and how the skin’s being touched. Then the robot’s AI decides what to do with that
information. So, Nadine is an incredible fusion of different
disciplines. AI, robotics, computing, pressure-sensitive electronic skin…so what makes it so creepy? If Nadine gives you the heebie-jeebies, you’re
experiencing something called the uncanny valley. The uncanny valley is based on the idea that
the more human-like and less machine-like something seems, the easier it is for humans
to respond to it emotionally. Except when something looks almost life-like,
but is off by just a little bit. That makes our emotional response go way down — our
brains just think it’s creepy. That’s because when an artificial human
looks juuuuust human enough, all we can focus on is where the illusion is falling short.
It makes our parietal cortex light up. The parietal cortex connects the brain’s
visual processing center with the motor cortex. When you look at what your brain thinks is
a person, it mirrors what you’re seeing onto your own muscular system. It’s an evolved function that helps us learn,
and it’s why seeing someone else do something makes it easier for us to do it ourselves. But then we see something like Nadine. It’s
human-looking enough that our parietal cortex kicks in and tries to mirror it… but its
movement isn’t as human-like as its appearance, so it can’t be mirrored onto our muscles. Essentially, Nadine fools our visual cortex,
but not our motor cortex, and our parietal cortex is what picks that up. It doesn’t
know what the problem is, but it knows there’s a problem, and that you should probably be
scared. Does that robot receptionist want to eat you?
It doesn’t know. Don’t risk it though, just run. So Nadine might be a super advanced robot,
but it probably won’t be replacing human receptionists any time soon. Not until they
can get it out of the uncanny valley. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow
news. if you love SciShow and want to share SciShow with those you love. Check out our
SciShow Valentines that correspond to upcoming episodes, at And don’t
forget to go to and subscribe.

100 Replies to “Nadine The Robot Is Amazing And Creepy”

  1. My grandma's name is Nadine…

    Boy, if my grandmother is a robot, I think I won't be able to live life comfortably

  2. I don't understand why we're so fixated on having robots look like us, if we gave them their own identity wouldn't that eliminate the uncanny valley problem? Like pepper, they have that at SF mall and everyone is crowding around taking pictures with it. The talking head and Nadine remind you of leatherface. Let machines look mechanical

  3. Robots see to be popping up everywhere and despite how life like they are, I still find them creepy. However what's even more disturbing is that there seems to be a preference for creating female robots. Is this because they need to be seen as subservient therefore less threatening or does it show that women are still viewed as inferior beings?

  4. I must have blinked. Did this fool EVER actually show us Nadine? Maybe it's just me, I don't understand a lot of things, you know, like switch and bait.

  5. Why bother making it look human? Can't we have robot workers that just look like robots. Making them look human serves no purpose.

  6. Gee…thanks for the almost 3 seconds that you actually showed the robot…I guess you think it's just so much better to, instead, flap your jaw the whole time….

  7. Why do we want them to look human? Why not just make them look in whatever way works best. Like how animators often choose a stylized approached as opposed to hyper realism in games and shows.

  8. Only your mother wants to see your face this much.
    show the subject please and stop mugging like a poorly trained actor

  9. weeeeeee thaaaaaa rooooobooooootsssssssssss arrrrrrrrrrrre taaaaaaaakinnnnnnnnnnng oooooooovaaaaaaaaa yurrrrrrrrr erthhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  10. The 2 whole seconds we actually saw this robot in this 5 minute vid of a guy talking (great clickbait, scishow) were less predictable than the responses to the video. Tech culture has so many named measures, turing test, etc – what will it be called when the comments to such a robot stop becoming literally the same they were 30 years ago?

  11. Click-bait!!!!!! Two seconds of Nadine, and five minutes of this annoying guy telling us how creepy she is.

  12. I like how she's like…not the typical "perfect" beauty, like they'd usually do for a female android. Like, she has fat and wrinkles on her face. It makes her look closer to ACTUALLY real…until she moves, and then at first your brain tells you "blind or autistic person" (doesn't see where you are/can't react to you quite right) until you watch a little more, and THEN you get the artificial thing. Weird.

    Not sure if that makes the uncanny valley deeper or not, but it does take you longer to get there at all than the standard doll-perfect humanoid robot would, so…congrats on that?

    I've always disagreed with that famous chart, that they showed here–that zombies are the bottom of the Uncanny Valley. They are not. Zombies are too obviously to the eye immediately wrong, unless they're really well-preserved I guess. THIS is the bottom of the Uncanny Valley. Really humanoid, alMOST realistic looking robots/CGI characters, are it. Be more obviously artificial and no. Be more abstract looking and no. But stuff like this and some dolls/mannikins? Yeah.

  13. Has no one yet asked this question:
    When will the sex doll industry co-opt this technology for their own ends (pun intended)?

  14. First regards Cortana – I shut that damned program off. It is only allowed to search the local drive and nothing more.

    Now that robot Nadine – it is creepy as all hell. Make a robot look like a robot. That way you know what you're dealing with.

  15. That robot pretending to be a woman; is as sick, creepy, and unnatural as Bruce Jenner pretending to be a woman. I weep for humanity.

  16. Robots will quickly be superior to us in every way , if you look at the robot Sofia it / she ? is already saying that , why would an intelligent robot want to serve an inferior creature .

  17. So many people already dread going to the doctor, the last thing we need is an unsettling robot to look forward to interacting with while we're there :')

  18. Sorry, but I wanted more than just 15 seconds of Nadine. If I had realized this was actually a 5 minute video of some CREEPY GUY talking, I would have passed it up.

  19. I thought this was going to show Nadine instead of a glimpse here and there. And this guy is annoying……Bye

  20. "Mirror" is pronounced "MIRR" – "OR". When it is pronounced "MEER", I think "meercats" then I think "creepy Americans". Can't help it. I'm a Brit, living in "YERP".

  21. I think robots should look not very human like. Also, artificial limbs should be more cyborgy. Artificial pride!!!

  22. When you decrease the distance between the two electrodes of a capacitor, the capacitance, and the amount of electrical energy that can be stored *increases*.

  23. That thing looks ridiculously lifelike, it stares at you like it's about to kill you. Couldn't they at least base on someone hot? My biggest concern with a bot like this (assuming it was a helper at your house) is if it says something original or actually gave a sign of sentience/intelligence. Or if it'd take a pillow and try to suffocate you while you slept.

  24. A nod to Rod Serling, creator, writer and host of the Twilight Zone, and to his intro.

  25. Androids will one day replace humans in the workplace. Imagine having a whole set of Datas (Star Trek) running your factories.

  26. This isn't new Disney has been using one to oversee the last four Star Wars movies. Still buggy but progress and all that.

  27. AI is our future. They can be a big help to our society. They can do household chores, caretaking, helping our police department for some investigations etc.

  28. Douche-filled video starting with a TZ intro features a douche talking about a phenomenon that is well understood by robotics people, but misunderstood by lay people. Down-voted for douchiness and for showing a couple of seconds of actual subject. Crap.

  29. All of the robot builders needs to do exactly what Disney did with the Nabi robot for the movie Avatar. Disney made the most lifelike robot ever.

  30. When something seems almost but not quite human, it seems "wrong" to us and makes us suspicious.

    Whenever something seems "wrong", the brain treats it as a potential threat or danger; why does this human seem off, have we missed a piece of information, what is wrong with this human, is it dead, diseased or unhinged/hostile, is it dangerous?

    Not knowing whether it should be considered a threat or an ally is what constitutes the uncanny valley and all things that are considered "creepy".

    Basically, if it seems dangerous, it's scary but if it's unclear whether or not it's dangerous, it's creepy.

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