Familiarity & Fear – The Uncanny Valley

There’s not a lot immediately useful in reading about The Uncanny Valley — it’s just interesting, and a fascinating glimpse into how our minds work.

Essentially, a Japanese roboticist, Doctor Masahiro Mori, has put together a theory that translates into English roughly as “The Uncanny Valley”. It seems that as things begin to look and move more like normal humans, there is an increasing level of acceptance until it gets to a certain peak — the hill just before the valley — at which point reactions plunge into deep revulsion (the “uncanny valley” itself) and don’t climb back to acceptance until movement and appearance become very human-like indeed.

This appears to be why “somewhat anthropomophic” figures, such as Star Wars “C3PO” tend to look “cute” to us, but shambling and disfigured movie zombies (which are arguably a lot more human-like) give us the creeps.

An interesting read…

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