A couple of posts back I mentioned Reborn Baby Dolls in the context of The Uncanny Valley and the problem of distinguishing robots from humans.

Well, Comment Number 22 on that post is very interesting because it is conceivable that it might just possibly have been made by a robot:

August 1st, 2008 at 10:19 pm

Tracy adds:

I will say that reborn dolls are the most realistic looking dolls I’ve ever encountered and dealt with, but don’t you think they are as creepy as they are cute? As mentioned before the ones with the open eyes can give a person the chills.

We can certainly entertain the idea that Tracy’s ‘human’ quotient is converging on robot. We know for sure that she is insincere, since her link takes us back to a Reborn Baby Doll site (well, it did before I made it go somewhere much more appropriate. Tsk. No free advertising of your creepy hobby on The Cow, Tracy).

See, this is the problem with the Uncanny Valley; bots, when approaching any level of ‘humanness’ are likely to appear at first as mad people. Or at the very least, untrustworthy people. I am unable to tell whether Tracy is real or a clever bot that has just done a search for Reborn Baby references and mangled some of my words to make it seem as if a real person has commented, embedding a link back to RBD site. Read it again. Does it make any sense to you? The grammar is wrong and the ‘sense’ of the statement is wrong (she’s agreeing with me, but not really…). Additionally, the cadence of the comment is very similar to some kinds of spam I’ve received – and believe me, I’ve read enough spam to get a very good feeling for it.

OK – show of hands – who thinks Tracy is a real person? And now, who thinks Tracy should make some further ‘guest’ appearances on The Cow?