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SCIENCE: AI is Crossing the Uncanny Valley


The tech world’s latest virtual assistant looks so realistic, you might mistake her for an actual human. Apple has Siri, and Amazon has Alexa. But the lifelikeness of both are dwarfed by Mica: a prototype that Magic Leap, a highly regarded augmented-reality startup, unveiled at its conference Wednesday.

Mica isn’t just a voice assistant. She’s something you can actually see if you wear the company’s augmented-reality glasses, called Magic Leap One. Mica looks and acts like a human — she makes eye contact and offers a warm smile, along with other human-like expressions.

Experts say Mica is a breakthrough in realistic avatars and could have far-reaching implications for society, impacting everything from human connections to education and our health. For starters, she could be used to turn on or off your smart home devices, including TVs, stereo systems and lights. Magic Leap also demonstrated how Mica can answer detailed questions, such as recalling a person’s favorite song from a concert attended a year ago (the company did not explain how Mica learns such information).

By Matt McFarland – Full Story at CNN

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