The Pear’s “Uncanny Valley” touches the heart of the Silicon Valley

uncanny-valley-2By Ande Jacobson

The Pear takes a stunning leap into the world of science fiction with Thomas Gibbons’ play, Uncanny Valley. What constitutes sentience, and more than that, what makes a person a person? Taking a further leap, can we conceive of a time when a robot could be considered a person? The world of science fiction has explored this in myriad ways over the years. In the mid-20th century, Isaac Asimov set forth the Three Laws of Robotics in his short story Runaround (one of the stories in the I Robot collection) which stated:

  • A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  • A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  • A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

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