Yes, The Robots Are Dancing In The Uncanny Valley, And They’ve Got Their Groove On, And I Can See Why That Disturbs You, But It’s Going To Take A Damn Sight More To Convince Me

You’ll have seen, won’t you, those Boston Dynamics videos with the robots dancing? 
‘course you will. Steve’s retweeted them. Bob has too. And if Bob’s seen something on the net, 
That means it’s properly viral, 
‘cos Bob barely notices the dew drop on the end of his nose, 
Or whether he’s got trousers on today. Or not. 
And you’ll have been encouraged to think, “Oh, robots dancing! We’re properly in the 21st century now. No more stiff-legged geezers in cardboard tubes sprayed silver. 
No more arms-outstretched, Frankenstein’s monster, Metropolis knock-off wannabes. 
These fellas can dance. These fellas can jive. These fellas can Get Down on the dance floor. 
How very human. 
How very uncanny valley. 
What will they do next? 
Move in on your significant other? 
Lean up on the pillows as you come in, one night, having provided the kind of thorough satisfaction you never could, and all with a robotic smile like something from Futurama?” 
You’ll have been encouraged to think this. 
You’ll be thinking of replicants and shady takeovers of the entire world 
And all the B-movie rest of it. 
Because the robots can dance. 
But I’m not so easily convinced. 
Because, you see, yeah they can dance but how many humans can? 
When people say they’re so human-like, 
What they mean is, they’re like about 0.5% of us. 
The show-offs. 
The ones we don’t much like anyway. 
Because they can do so easily what we cannot. 
No. If your Boston Dynamics lot want to creep me out, take me to the uncanny valley, 
They need to do a damn sight more than that. 
First time I see a robot in saggy tracksuit bottoms, scratching its arse, hefting a litre of cheap plonk in a paper bag, 
That’s when they’ll freak me out. 
That’s when I’ll know that they’ve begun to understand how to be human. 

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