A warning, before you go any further. There are things you can't un-see, and this may not be for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. Okay, so I may be living under a rock, but it's cool here, and the ground is nice and moist. An occasional grub to munch upon. I understand that what I'm sharing here today is by no means new, and may have been part of pop culture for some time. I've understood 'The Uncanny Valley' in theory, I just never knew it had a name.
Dogimo brought up the concept of The Uncanny Valley the other day, in reaction to Bev's post regarding, in part, Courtney Love. I had to look it up, and it makes sense.Dr. Masahiro Mori originally coined the phrase in relation to his work in the field of robotics. It stipulates, basically, that our innate attraction to an object, living or inanimate, will increase gradually, but at a certain point in design, attraction rapidly turns to revulsion. Only when the object or being obtains a greater humanness does the curve again rise. To quote Dave Bryant's take on this phenomenon:
"This chasm—the uncanny valley of Doctor Mori’s thesis—represents the point at which a person observing the creature or object in question sees something that is nearly human, but just enough off-kilter to seem eerie or disquieting. The first peak, moreover, is where that same individual would see something that is human enough to arouse some empathy, yet at the same time is clearly enough not human to avoid the sense of wrongness. The slope leading up to this first peak is a province of relative emotional detachment—affection, perhaps, but rarely more than that."Dr. Mori brings this up in his effort to keep man from designing robots that too closely mimic human appearance and behavior, because a slight mistake (the 'Joan Rivers' model, for example) could cast the object into the valley.This valley is subjective, certainly. Things that bother Lori (Charles Schwab ads, folk art) are not the same pseudo-human things that wig me out (mannequins, Yul Brynner in 'West World', grotesque deformities).Strangely, I'm drawn to folk art, especially animated, talking folk art, and Lori can't turn away from every possible television show centered on deformities. Go figure.The valley's not all bad, mind you. Zombies live there. Awww, look at the cute little zombie!
Oh, Just Shut Up and Lie Down Somewhere
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