ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND THE UNCANNY VALLEY

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As part of our Science on Screen series, we present a special screening of the recent film Operator with “Artificial Intelligence and the Uncanny Valley,” a presentation by robotics scholar Ken Goldberg.

The romantic comedy-drama Operator features Martin Starr (Silicon Valley) as Joe, a socially-inept programmer tasked with developing an Interactive Voice Response phone system that can convey empathy. Mae Whitman co-stars as his wife Emily, who provides the winning voice, but their collaboration threatens to spiral into a love triangle between Joe, Emily and automated Emily. Also starring Nat Faxon, Christine Lahti. Writers: Sharon Greene, Logan Kibens. Director: Logan Kibens. (US 2015) 90 min.

Ken Goldberg

Following the screening, Ken Goldberg will give an illustrated talk on “Artificial Intelligence and the Uncanny Valley,” concerning our emotional responses to humanoid objects that can elicit uncanny, or strangely familiar, feelings of eeriness or revulsion. Goldberg will also review the literary and philosophical concepts of the “uncanny.”

Ken Goldberg is an artist, inventor and scholar focusing on robotics. He serves as Professor and Department Chair, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at UC Berkeley. In his art and research, Goldberg studies the boundary between what is alive and what is lifelike.

This presentation is part of SCIENCE ON SCREEN®, a series pairing film screenings with lively scientific discussions – an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


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