Contributor, David Joy, has shared some videos with us about Uncanny Valley, which we find fascinating. The term was coined by Masahiro Mori, a robotics professor who designed and built a robot to look and behave exactly like himself. The robot is, for want of a better word, freaky.
The uncomfortable sensation that hits us when watching the robot, which looks just like a human, moves like a human, sounds like a human, but we know definitely isn’t a human, puts us in the Uncanny Valley. It’s the gap between successfully attributing something that isn’t human with familiar human features that people find endearing and the total inability to tell the difference between a robot and a human. It’s the ability to tell that something so close to being human is not human, which jars the mind.
The following video was a particularly interesting depiction of Uncanny Valley and relates well to our project. The video, although it is not about a real human being, is really quite sad.
Perhaps it reflects our view of watching animals online?
Don’t think, and we don’t want you to feel.
Perhaps watching animals digitally online distances us so far from the real animal being that we needn’t be concerned for its welfare, we simply want it to entertain us. Does all sense of reality slip under the radar in our digital, cyborg conversation?
More about Mori and Uncanny Valley at WIRED.