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Photo: Hiroshi Ishiguro/Osaka University/ATR

On the Tinder for robots, you don’t swipe left or right — you instead rate them on likability, appearance and overall desirability. Too many bad "appearance" ratings, and a bot lands in a modern hall of shame: the World’s Creepiest Robots.

Why it matters: Today’s most useful robots are giant arms that assemble cars and smartphones in enormous factories. But in the near future, robot builders want to make social bots that elicit empathy from people. First, they have to figure out how to make ones that aren’t totally horrifying.

Telenoid, a milky-white, nearly featureless robot that appears ready to feast on human souls, enjoys the top spot on the Creepiest Robots list.

  • According to the robot’s website, its "minimalistic" design is intended to appear "both male and female" and "both old and young."
  • It can mimic a faraway person’s facial expressions as they speak — acting as "a mobile phone shaped like an alien," according to IEEE, the organization behind the bot catalog.
  • The nightmarish bot is expected to sell for $8,000.

All five creepiest robots have human-like faces, but dead eyes and weird dull skin that shove them deep into the "uncanny valley," a term used to describe the dreadful quality of robots that try to emulate human features but fall short.

"Creepiest" is just one way of sorting IEEE’s catalog of nearly 200 robots. Choose to sort by "Top Rated" and you’ll see a very different set of machines. Tellingly, none are humanoid: The top two are animal-like bots, and nearly all the rest in the top ten bear no resemblance to living things.

Go deeper: Rate some bots!

Go deeper

7 mins ago - World

NYT: Biden won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.

Trump threatens to veto Defense spending bill over social media shield

Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday a threat to veto a must-pass end-of-year $740 billion bill defense-spending authorization bill unless Congress repeals a federal law that protects social media sites from legal liability.

Why it matters: Trump's attempt to get Congress to end the tech industry protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the latest escalation in his war on tech giants over what he and some other Republicans perceive as bias against conservatives.

The walls close in on Trump

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

With Bill Barr's "Et tu, Brute!" interview with AP, President Trump is watching the walls close in on his claims of fraud, hoaxes and conspiracies.

Why it matters: Trump and his legal team continue to claim election fraud. But the Republican governors of Arizona and Georgia have certified their elections, a loyalist like Barr has weighed in, and lower-ranking officials have taken potshots.