Take a Selfie with Robots at International City Theatre During Run of UNCANNY VALLEY

Two InMoov 3D-printed robots will be on display and available for selfies on Friday, April 21 from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. in the lobby of International City Theatre at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center.

Hosted by the Robotics Society of Southern California, the event precedes the opening night performance of ICT's Los Angeles premiere of Uncanny Valley by Thomas Gibbons. Visitors will have a chance to see the robots up close and ask questions of robotics experts.

"Uncanny valley" is term used to describe the discomfort we feel when we see an extremely realistic robot that is oh-so-close to seeming human, but just not quite right.

Gibbons' play centers around Claire, a neuroscientist who has devoted her entire life to crafting a non-biological being. Her latest attempt, named Julian, starts out as a head without a body. As Julian receives a torso, arms and legs and becomes fully functional, Claire tries to teach him how to become truly "human."

The play was inspired by a National Geographic article that featured a photo of a sentient robot named Bina48 created by the LifeNaut Project. The ICT production is directed by caryn desai [sic] and stars Susan Denaker and Jacob Sidney.

"Artifical Intelligence is already a large part of our life in the 21st century," says desai. "A.I. powers self-driving cars, helps us tag images on Facebook, powers Siri on our iPhones and Alexa on the Amazon Echo, helps suggest interesting movies for us to watch on Netflix and helps us find new music we'll love on Pandora. Scientists and engineers are making rapid advancements in the field, often too quick for the legal system to catch up. As a community, we should be discussing the implications of a technology that is so advanced it mimics human consciousness."

Admission to the robotics display on April 21 is free. Tickets to the opening night performance of Uncanny Valley at 8 p.m. are $55 and include a post-performance reception at Utopia Restaurant.

Performances will continue on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through May 7. International City Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 330 East Seaside Way, Long Beach, CA 90802. For more information and to make a reservation, call 562-436-4610 or go to InternationalCityTheatre.org.

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