Talking Heads


Department store mannequins may be creepy, and automated customer service calls may take forever, but at least we don’t have to deal with the Euphonia these days. Inhabiting the lowest point of the uncanny valley, this machine mimicked human speech through a disembodied head, which somehow made people more uncomfortable than amazed:

People liked that the Euphonia could parrot human speech. They enjoyed that it could change accents and languages with the turn of a screw or a stroke of a key. They didn’t like its vacant stare, its strange rubber tongue that lolled around its empty mouth as it spoke, or the fact that it seemed to “breathe” when Faber adjusted the bellows.

Adam Keller is a Wesleyan graduate currently based in Oakland, California. He's a founding editor of REELYDOPE and used to write for The Argus. More from this author →