Balancing the uncanny valley effect with the need for robotisation
March 21st, 2023

Increasingly, robotisation is becoming more prevalent, more useful, and more sophisticated as the technology develops.

The problem is that the uncanny valley effect – easily illustrated by the premise that the more a robot or animation looks and acts like a human, the more onlookers can become unpleasantly unsettled, even to the point of anxiety.

And yet, in business terms, the progress of robotisation has inevitable potential. Automating processes to improve the customer experience is key. Virtual assistants and chatbots have become mainstream. So how does the uncanny valley effect impact on what people hear or read as well as see?

Businesses report that smart tech increases both efficiency and revenue, as well as providing the opportunity to personalise customer interaction, and a recent study found that the use of AI to improve the customer experience was prevalent in around 90% of large companies.

The requirement and desire for more and more sophisticated robotisation is only likely to expand. Somehow, businesses must balance that with the response of their audience to the uncanny valley effect that is an inevitable part of the increasing sophistication.

It makes sense that the more humanised a system appears, the higher the expectations of the audience will be. The difficulty comes when the humanised system falls short of dealing with nuanced customer interaction – when the assistant cannot respond adequately to the customer’s need – even though it sounds as if it can.

A ‘conversation’ with an AI powered assistant can feels like a conversation with a real person as using natural language software strengthens the chatbot’s ability to translate and understand what the customer says through their inflexion and intonation, even to the point of trying to predict what the customer will need to ask.

And, inevitably, customers want a frictionless interaction and speedy resolution to their problem or query, and virtual assistants can be permanently available to respond.

Currently, if the information required by the customer is beyond the chatbot, they are usually put through to a person. Through the use of AI, it may be that at this point callers can be connected to a specific person most able to resolve the problem quickly and avoid subsequent unsatisfactory redirection and repetition.

Despite the challenge of the uncanny valley and its effect on the audience response, the continuing use of robotics in business is inevitable, and through ever more sophisticated technology, the business case for the use of robotics continues to strengthen.

We tailor our solutions to our clients needs
Want to know more?
Call our experts on +44(0)1642 688091
Get in touch