the uncanny valley
A study of human-robot likeness
While researching robotics and AI, one name kept turning up in the searches. In fact, this name and it’s reputation had spread throughout the virtual reality and video game spectrum as well. Author of “The Buddha in the Robot,” Masahiro Mori is probably best known for the paper he wrote in 1970 in which he uncovered what he called “The Uncanny Valley,” a response deep within our subconscience that dictates our feelings of uneasiness. He found that when we view things that remind us of our own mortality, we are turned off and immediately stricken by disgust. In other words, the more like us an object appears, the more likely we are to be made uneasy by it. This theory has allowed robotics engineers and video game developers to work within a set of comfortable boundaries in order to fully integrate their technologies, and yet some continue to push the boundaries of real vs. uncanny. So how far is really too far?