Uncanny Valley, thy name is Jia Jia.
Researchers on Friday introduced the stunningly realistic-looking interactive humanoid robot to the world, and she reacted by nodding her head, squinting, moving her hand and eyeballs and telling assembled local photographers, with her speech synched to her lip movements, to snap her face from a more flattering angle. Girl's got spirit.
Jia Jia made her public debut at the University of Science and Technology of China, where she came to life over the course of three years. While her rosy cheeks and pink lips make her look like she has blood running through her actuators, she still has a way to go before she'll be confused with a human. Her expressions are currently limited to "microexpressions" and her speech has that distinct stiffness that screams "I am a robot and I will one day chase you from your home."
Still, her creators claim their "robot goddess" in the making is one of the most lifelike robots ever made, and it's hard to argue with that assessment. And she may get even more so.
She can't yet laugh or cry, but "we hope to develop the robot so it has deep learning abilities," Xinhuanet quoted team leader Chen Xiaoping as saying. "We will add facial expression recognition and make it interact more deeply with people."
Jia Jia will make an appearance at the China International Technology Fair in Shanghai later this month, but it's unclear what her ultimate purpose in life will be.