Responding to humanoid robots: A call to examine the role of instincts | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 11, Issue 3-4
  • ISSN: 1539-7785
  • E-ISSN: 2048-0717



Using concepts from media ecology and cognitive science, the article examines some mechanisms that underlie our responses to humanoid robots. It suggests that ‘tertiary orality’ (talking to robots and computers) requires caution: humans are prompted by their instincts to personalize the voices, faces and body language of robots and computers; humans also seem to be designed to attribute intention and emotion where none is present. We argue that the combination of new technology and ancient human instincts creates the uncanny: the familiar in the strange and the strange in the familiar, which is simultaneously seductive and alienating; we argue that people should be educated to understand these phenomena. This is an area where media ecology can make an important contribution.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error