Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Finding out that there is a name for something you had noticed.

In The Corner today I came across a posting by Jonah Goldberg which brought up the topic of the Uncanny Valley. The article he was referring to was that some other primates experience this the same as humans do.

So, what is it? Below are images and please bear in mind that the effect is stronger with moving pictures or especially in reality-space.

If you, like me, find these things a little creepy then that is Uncanny Valley at work. It seems that if things look sufficiently non-human, then we judge them as things. Beyond a certain thresh hold, when they start to look more human than not, we start to judge by human standards. The odd way they move, sound and look strikes us as repulsive. That is the valley.

Kind of cool that something noticed in passing turns out to be an actual field of study.

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