Valley of Death is real; I'm still uncertain on the Uncanny Valley; I've only experienced it looking at a particular porn star called Rhiannon. (yikes!) Maybe I'm too much of a technophile.
Overcoming the funding Valley of Death will requires some big risks: I have a theory about that reflected in my fembot fiction:
“It was almost accidental; little known fact that Doll-tech was never meant to be profitable. A bit ironic;” Maryse said with a wry grin. “In the 2040’s there was a robot-laborer manufacturer called Dahlectronics, Chicago-based.” Gertie nodded with recognition as Maryse continued. “Some drunken engineers after a Christmas office-party joked about building a pure sexbot. But an offer from a well-heeled investor convinced them to take it seriously. Wrapped in self-sealing nano-tech skin first engineered for medical skin-grafts. Distributed A.I. facial-tic system just to get around the proverbial Uncanny Valley. It was done quietly; a handful of prototypes for the private-jet crowd.
“Then the CEO and founder, Hiroshi Heinrich-Dahl had a major dispute with the Board of Directors over an ill-advised South American Quantum-Chip venture. They were determined to force him out, from the company he founded in his parent’s garage. Legally, they had the right to do that; but he saw the hammer before it fell. He still had the authority for a new product line before they could sack him. Dahl knew about the sexbots; and decided to go out with a bang.”
“What are you saying?” Brigitte wondered, “He tried to sabotage his own company?”
“He was certain it wouldn’t really be his much longer.” Maryse explained. “By burning company cash-reserves and with economies of scale, Dahl mass-produced a product he was sure would be a boondoggle. He figured most people would feel...” She gestured to the Civil Mediation chief. “-About like Gertie would.”
“Better for everyone if they had.” The stocky security chief grumbled.
“But people did think that way; specifically – they thought everyone else would think that way, and men in their droves made a run on the robots the instant they showed up in suburban Dahlectronics dealerships. Assuming of course, that something so controversial…emotionally charged as life-model sexbot concubines couldn’t last.” The cyberneticists’ gave a gallows grin.
“Since everyone predicted a flop…” Brigitte began with arms crossed and chin low.
“Perception of scarcity. The Boondoggle that wasn’t.” Maryse finished. “A product that should have cost ten-years’ salary for Joe Six-pack was affordable thanks to Dahl’s scheme; and the sales were so high that the robotic albatross became the golden goose…for whoever controlled it.”