The Uncanny Valley

The Uncanny Valley

Updated Mar 28, 2014 at 04:33PM EDT by Don.  

Added by DukeLawliet.

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About

The Uncanny Valley refers to a concept in the field of human aesthetics, bionics and robotics which posits that an imitated form of human physical appearance can cause revulsion for the observer, especially when it is not identical or indistinguishable to that of a natural human being. On the Internet, the term has been widely used in discussions about humanoid robots, computer animated characters and medical prosthetics.

Origin

In 1970, Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori hypothesized that human observers respond positively and empathetically to robots as their human-like appearance increases, though only up until a point after which the strange familiarity begins to evoke revulsion, a phenomenon that Mori referred to as the “uncanny valley” (shown below).



Spread

On August 5th, 2006, Urban Dictionary[2] user Civan submitted an entry for “uncanny valley,” which cited Mori as the term’s originator. On September 30th, 2008, the Popular Science YouTube channel uploaded a short educational video about the uncanny valley (shown below).



On April 7th, 2010, Redditor LaszloK submitted an animated GIF of a walking Boston Dynamics BigDog robot as an example of the uncanny valley to the /r/WTF[3] subreddit, where it received more than 2,800 up votes and 560 comments prior to being archived.



On April 4th, 2013, YouTuber DNews uploaded a video of about the uncanny valley titled “Why Human Replicas Creep Us Out” (shown below, let). On July 22nd, computer animator Mike Pelletier uploaded a video featuring humanoid characters intentionally created to fit the uncanny valley aesthetic (shown below, right). On August 13th, a page titled “Uncanny Valley” was submitted to the TV Tropes,[1] which listed several examples of the phenomenon in mediums like film, television and video games.



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External References

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Top Comments

PhoenixBlitzkrieg
PhoenixBlitzkrieg

I feel as if this were better left to Tv Tropes, or maybe expanded a bit. The Uncanny Valley is an important thing for people in the arts to recognize, due to it having a huge impact on whether or not something you produce will feel as you want it to.

Say you had a dramatic and heartbreaking story in a game. It could be written by the greatest writer ever, but if the characters don’t “feel” right, as in they don’t act like we expect humans who can function normally act, we won’t feel the story in the correct light, and it may soil the experience.

But, using the Uncanny Valley effectively in a horror game would yeild great results. Subjects in the Uncanny Valley already make us feel uncomfortable, so it wouldn’t take that much to work. All you have to do is up the ante on it a tad.

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