MacDorman and the Terminator

May 20, 2009

Karl MacDorman, associate professor, is an IUPUI School of Informatics and Computing researcher studying the "uncanny valley". MacDorman’s perspective about this cognitive phenomenon is included in the article Why "Terminator" is so creepy at


Robots of earlier "Terminator" movies, such as the famous model played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, walked with the easy confidence of programmed beings. Their apparent inhumanity fed the thrill of terror felt by both human characters and movie audiences.

What the new "Terminator Salvation" suggests is that one of the earliest human-looking terminators had something of an identity crisis, and even bore the human name "Marcus Wright." That robotic delusion lasts until Wright gets captured with a horrific wound that exposes his true self.

"In the instant Marcus stares down at his mechanical torso, his sense of personal and human identity has been knocked out from under him, and that’s devastating," said Karl MacDorman, a robotics researcher at Indiana University.

You can read the article here.

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